This is a question we get from every one of our clients. Let’s face it, many small-to-medium businesses require everyone to wear multiple hats. Having to add, “online marketing”, “website manager” or “social media specialist” to the already formidable list of roles played, often means your website is the last thing on your TO-DO list and is likely the first to be ignored. Many assume, once your site is built, it never needs to be touched again.
Perhaps that was the case two decades ago, but with so many websites competing for search engine results, a stale or untouched site will fade into obscurity. Search engines (e.g., Google and Bing) want to know your site is fresh and relevant and will track updates and changes to use as part of its overall formula for ranking your online home. Of course, there are other facets that go into determining whose site shows up at the top of page one of a search and who ends up on page 5 (or worse), like key words, phrases and using best-practices website development, but even the best designed site will still fade if left to gather dust.
So, how often do changes need to be made?
As a general rule, you should have something new on your website once a month. This could be a new offering, a special sale, a welcome to a new employee, an anniversary celebration or your thoughts and advice on a particular subject. Adding a blog to your website is a tremendously easy way to create and post content and, if setup correctly, can also be used to update your social media outlets as well.
Every six months, it’s a good idea to spend time going through every page of your site, reading the content and reviewing the pictures to see if anything needs to be updated or removed. Often a business will create content hailing a “new” product or offering, but, after six months, is it really new? Some make the mistake of using words that will artificially date the content of your site like, “New for 2014,” or, “Come celebrate April with us,” but it’s now July. There is nothing wrong with adding those kinds of updates to your site, but you must be sure to take them off or move them to an archive section, rather than risk looking like your site is filled with out-of-date information.
Remember, you generally do not get a second chance to make a good first impression! If the content is dated or the descriptions are no longer relevant, you might as well be saying the same thing about your business. Customers use the internet daily to find goods and services and when they land on your site, they will decide, usually withing moments, whether or not your site reflects their expectations. If it looks tired, dull and old, that’s the impression they will have.
Finally, your site should have a design overhaul every 12-18 months, depending on if you have been keeping up with the content, providing monthly updates and staying on top of dated material. This doesn’t mean having to pay for a brand new site, but taking time to rearrange some of the material, rewrite some of your content, change fonts or font sizes, adding updated graphic elements — basically, give your virtual home a fresh coat of paint. Yes, there is generally some cost involved, but it should be a fraction of what it cost to build your site. Compare that investment to lost revenues from clients who never even bother to walk in your front door because of what they’ve seen on your website.
Because we focus on small-to-medium business clients, we know your time is valuable and we strive to do all we can to provide the easiest mechanisms for you to keep your website fresh, relevant and up-to-date, while also providing the ability to upkeep social media. If you’d like to learn more about our processes and methodologies for website design and build, feel free to contact us directly. There is never a charge to meet with a client to review an existing site or to begin the process of building a brand new one from scratch. Remember, it’s never too late to be what you might have been.