What Happens If You Do Not Update Your Website For 3 Months

Written On Day: 511

Among the usual bunch of praise filled comments my previous post has a very interesting comment:

Come on dude.  Update your blog.  How do you expect your website to be a success with no updates?

Good point – how am I going to be successful without frequently updating this blog?  The song sung every week by  the choir is “Frequent posts lead to success”.  The preacher thumps his fist on the Good Book and sprays the first row as he shouts, “A website will die if  unattended – DIE!”.  Traffic will decrease, readers will unsubscribe, Google will stop sending you traffic.

Ignoring This Website And How it Effected The Success of This Website

For a couple of months my gaze has been elsewhere.  This website and blog have been on their own.  I have done nothing to prop or push it.  The last blog post was on Feburary 25, 2010.  Three months between blog posts – that can’t be good.

Normally things ignored deteriorate.  Empty houses spawn cobwebs, boards fall off fences, rust grows on pipes.    Without constant care lovers turn into ‘friends’; without constant care pet goldfish start doing the backstroke.

But surprisingly this website  did not  mind that I was gone.  There has been no deterioration, no rotting – the fish did not die.  3 months unattended was no worse for the website then 3 hours unattended.  Actually the fish are fatter and swimming faster.  Some of my stats have gone up in my absence.

Website’s Daily Visitors

website traffic for previous 3 months

Average daily visits has increased by 20%.  Nothing spectacular for 3 months, but pretty good for not doing anything at all.

But if the content is not changing then how can the traffic be increasing?  Without visitors coming back and reading new content you would expect traffic to go down as visitors realize the website is static.  How is it possible that the average daily visits has increased?

The answer is simple.  Even though the limited number of subscribers are not coming back, the almost unlimited number of non-subscribers are increasing.

Website’s Search Engine Traffic

Website Search Traffic

Google seems pleased with my website – it keeps sending more and more .  Although not shown on the graph May 2010 is already at 290 Google visitors and will be at least 350 by the end of the month – making it the second best month ever.

There are millions of internet users for whom this website is fresh and new.  For them 3 month old website is fresh content.  They are looking for answers and this website provides them.  They do not care that it has not been updated in 3 months.  Google knows this and sends traffic my way.

Google does not care that my subscribers have not been provided with new content.  Google is concerned about the millions of internet users looking for answers to their’ how to make money with a website’ questions.  Which of course, this website provides.

Website’s Subscribers

But what about my poor subscribers?  Every morning they check their RSS readers with anticipation only to be disappointed – every morning for 3 months.  The agony and despair they must feel.  You can only court a crush for so long until repeated rejection forces you to look elsewhere.

Website Subscriber Traffic

The subscribers to this website did not miss me at all.  There was no despair due to my absence.  Hearts were not broken, dreams where not shattered.  There was not a mad rush to unsubscribe.   Nobody seem to care that I did not post – no one was angry  enough to unsubscribe.

The only reaction was from the commenter above who pleasantly requested that I write another post soon.  He did not unsubscribe, he simply and kindly asked for more.

This website had  around 80 subscribers 3 months ago and it has around 80 subscribers today.

What Will Happen If You Stop Updating Your Website For 3 Months?

Nothing.

Feel burnt out?  Is the sight of low traffic and no revenue really starting to get on your nerves?  Are you yelling at the dog for no reason?  Are you twirling around on your pivot chair trying to force new content out of your head?  Are you starting to think that the time spent on your website has been a complete waste of time?

If you answered yes to the above then you are like 99% of all webmasters.  You have 3 options:

  1. Keep yelling at the dog.
  2. Quit.
  3. Take a 3 month break.  Don’t worry about your website, it will be there when you come back.

  1. May 27th, 2010 at 16:35 | #1

    Good to see you back anyway!

    I have an old Blogger blog that I cut my teeth on, and even though it has not had a new post for several months, it still gets bursts of traffic. Simply because it has valid information for people who want to visit a certain part of Spain. As you say, to a reader it doesn’t really matter when it was posted.

  2. Nat
    August 25th, 2010 at 00:50 | #2

    I really enjoy your writing style and metrics. I didn’t miss your posts because I just got here.

  3. Willie
    September 10th, 2010 at 13:44 | #3

    I found this article because I stopped updating my website due to being off the grid and traffic exploded. It made me think I had been updating it too frequently before and ruining my search engine rank. Most new traffic is via Google. Interesting that you had almost an identical experience.

  4. January 11th, 2011 at 20:59 | #4

    I would like to learn how Google actually reacts to frequency of updates in a small portion of a site, like adding a post to a blog and potential updates that it can cause to index pages. It would be surprising if that affected the whole site, beyond the pages involved, if that. Would love to see some data and discussion on that, links for futher reading.

    Rule of thumb in customer support is that for each complaint there are 10-20 people that did not bother to speak-up. And these are real customers, not some random hits of the home page or folks that click a couple of links and never come back. I would not discount is so lightly.

    As to why people did not unsubscribe on RSS, is there any reason to? If I’m getting 50 feeds, and one does not show-up for a month, will I even notice or bother? I do not seek out to ‘unsubscribe’ from merchants who are not bombarding me with emails.

  5. roman
    January 12th, 2011 at 13:20 | #5

    Hello Wally,

    For me Google is a black box. I do not know the details of what their algorithms do to determine what shows up in the results and what does not. But from my travels on the internet I have noticed that frequency of update is not too important – definitely not important in the 1-3 month range.

    I check Google results all the time. I do a search for some keywords and click through the results. A lot of the results in my niche are websites that have not been updated in years. They have lots of good content and that seems to be all that matters to Google. From what I have seen if you have a good website, you can go on a 2 year vacation to the internetless Amazon and comeback to find your website is still at the top.

    I use to worry on a daily basis that I need to add content or Google will assume I am dead. But now I see Google as the cousin twice removed who sends a greeting card every second Christmas just to check in and make sure everything is alright.

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