Every day, billions of people visit millions of websites hosted worldwide. While you might not see this at the top of any “most loved hobbies” lists, it’s easy to speculate that going to websites could be a contender for the world’s favorite pastime.
The team at Siteefy recently published a sprawling study, collecting data on many hard-to-answer questions about the worldwide web.
Siteefy published that as of April 2023, there are over 1 billion websites on the Internet, according to Netcraft’s Web Server Survey. This survey shows that the number of websites reached 1 billion in September 2014, then dipped below that figure for about a year and a half before surpassing 1 billion again in March 2016.
However, it’s worth noting that not all these websites are active; only around 18% of them are, equating to about 201 million websites. The remaining 82%—roughly 914 million websites—are inactive. Therefore, the total number of active websites is about five times less than the total number of inactive ones.
This begs the question: why do so many websites remain inactive? Let’s explore the various reasons for inactive websites and investigate the factors contributing to this phenomenon.
Lack of resources, enthusiasm, and time
One of the primary reasons websites become inactive is due to a lack of resources, enthusiasm, or time to keep them up to date. Building and maintaining a website requires continuous effort, dedication, and attention to detail. However, many website owners find themselves overwhelmed by other commitments or need more resources to invest in their websites.
Limited financial resources
Creating and managing a website involves various costs, such as web hosting, domain registration, design, and content creation. New businesses and solopreneurs often have a minuscule budget and can’t afford to hire a team of people to take care of all the necessary details.
Some website owners may need help with financial constraints that prevent them from investing in these essential aspects. As a result, their websites may become dormant and useless, unable to progress without the necessary resources. With the average cost of a web developer estimated at $100-$180 per hour, fixing big problems can be out of the question for some site owners.
Another contributing factor to website inactivity is a loss of enthusiasm. Website owners may initially have a strong passion and drive for their projects, but over time, this enthusiasm may dwindle. Challenges, setbacks, or a lack of immediate success can dampen their spirits, leading to a lack of motivation to continue working on their websites.
In a post about wellness, CNN cites Dr. Gloria Mark from her book “Attention Span” In the book, she writes,
“In 2004, we measured the average attention on a screen to be 2½ minutes. Some years later, we found attention spans to be about 75 seconds. Now we find people can only pay attention to one screen for an average of 47 seconds.”
As attention spans get shorter, many hobby site owners may not have enough concentration to focus on site maintenance.
Time is a valuable commodity, and many website owners struggle to find the necessary hours in their busy schedules to dedicate to their websites. Managing and updating a website requires regular maintenance, content creation, and engagement with users.
A study published by Inc. reports that 33% of small business owners work at least 50 hours per week. Another study from Score.org found that 62% of entrepreneurs said the stress of ownership is worse than they imagined. When faced with competing priorities, website owners may find it difficult to allocate sufficient time to their online platforms, resulting in website inactivity.
Expired domains and hosting
Even when a website is built and launched, it can quickly become inactive if the site owner lets the domain or hosting expire. A domain name serves as the website’s unique address on the Internet, while hosting provides the infrastructure for the website to be accessible online.
Websites rely on domain registration to maintain their online presence. Domain names have expiration dates, and if the owner fails to renew the registration, the website associated with that domain will become inaccessible. This can occur due to oversight, lack of awareness, or the owner’s decision to abandon the website.
Similarly, hosting services have a validity period. If the website owner fails to renew the hosting subscription, the website’s files and data will no longer be stored on the server. Without hosting, the website becomes inactive, and visitors cannot access its content.
Shifting priorities and changing circumstances
Life is dynamic, and priorities can change over time. Website owners may find themselves pulled in different directions, leading them to neglect their online platforms. The decision to abandon a website can stem from various circumstances and changing priorities.
Website owners may experience a shift in their interests, goals, or projects. They may embark on new ventures that require their full attention, leaving little room for maintaining their existing websites. In such cases, the website becomes inactive as the owner focuses their efforts elsewhere.
Also, websites are often created with the intention of generating income. However, if a website fails to generate a satisfactory amount of money, the owner may choose to abandon it. 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years. Financial considerations and the lack of profitability can be significant factors in the decision to let a website go inactive.
Tips to keep your website functioning and online
After understanding why many websites fall into inactivity, it is clear that maintaining an active, engaging website involves overcoming numerous challenges. These may include limited resources, diminished enthusiasm, time constraints, and changing priorities. However, these hurdles can be conquered. Here are three practical tips to help keep your website functional and online:
Leverage AI for content creation
With rapidly evolving technology, AI can now help ease the burden of content creation. AI tools like OpenAI’s GPT-4 can generate high-quality content, saving you time and effort. These AI models can draft blog posts, create engaging headlines, and even respond to user comments or inquiries. By using AI for content creation, you can maintain consistent content updates on your website without the need for considerable time investment.
Hire freelance web professionals
The world is full of talented web developers, graphic designers, and content creators who offer their services on a freelance basis. Platforms like Upwork or Fiverr connect you with these professionals who can contribute to your website as needed. This way, you’re not shouldering the burden of managing your website alone. By delegating tasks like website maintenance, content creation, and design work to freelancers, you can ensure your website remains current and appealing without dedicating all your time to it.
Switch to more affordable hosting
Switching to more affordable providers, such as Namecheap, can help alleviate these costs. Namecheap offers competitive pricing for domain registration, SSL certificates, and hosting services, making it a cost-effective choice for website owners. With 24/7 customer service and a user-friendly interface, we can help you maintain your website’s online presence without breaking the bank.
Inactive, but not inconsequential
Ultimately, these inactive sites should not be viewed as failures but rather as stepping stones toward a more robust and dynamic Internet. They remind us of the continuous learning, adaptation, and perseverance required in the digital age. They are testimonies to the ever-changing priorities, the finite nature of enthusiasm, and the constraints of time and financial resources. However, with the right tools, guidance, and determination, website owners can overcome these challenges, ensuring their digital presence remains vibrant, engaging, and, above all, active.