Starting a website is like buying a turtle

Last night, my wife and I were doing some online research in a few varying topics. Time and time again, we discovered that the web site that would have had what we needed was either hopelessly out of date, or even expired completly, only to be visible via Gooogle's cache or the Wayback machine.

I realized then that anybody who sets up a website should be given the same stern warning that should be given to anybody considering buying a turtle as a pet: Be sure it is cared for even after you are gone.

I'm no reptile expert, but apparently box turtles can live to be 100 years old. That means that unless you get your turtle when you're a toddler and you wind up getting wished a happy 100th+ birthday on the Today Show, the turtle is going to outlast you, so you'd better consider who's going to take care of it next. Similarly, your web site needs to outlast you. I don't mean that you need to keep it going personally for the next century, but realize that whatever interest you have in some topic or activity is probably going to fade, but others are still going to want to access that information in the future. So letting your content collect dust or, worse yet, letting the domain name expire, is really annoying. You need a hand-off plan for when your personal involvement wanes.

A Web site, like a turtle, is a long-term commitment.