If you’re getting a new site made, or getting one revamped, go read “How Long Should Your Website Last” by Mike Swartz. Few are clear in their heads if their website is an investment or an expense. This article does a great job at setting the right direction.

Your website has got three core layers: content storage, content management interface, and forward-facing user experience.

The forward facing experience is what most people think of as their “website”. It’s the layer that goes out of fashion merely in 18 months. Another other important take away from that article is that the choice of CMS becomes very critical to determine longevity of investment.

A typical content management system controls all three layers together, and they move in lock-step. Not ideal, but that is how things are. Through the life of a website the content types & storage probably won’t change much. Big perceivable changes happen in other two layers. Therefore the content storage layer must be very well considered. A CMS switch later is expensive, especially the data migration effort.

Hopefully this will be discussed in the upcoming CMS Conference.