Have you ever visited a website that hasn’t been updated in several years? It’s like walking through a bricks-and-mortar store with almost no product on the shelves. You can almost feel the cyber-cobwebs hanging off the corners of the outdated web pages.
A website that hasn’t been touched in years raises troubling questions for site visitors. Has the company forgotten about its own site? Has it moved to a new URL and didn’t get the word out? Does it even still exist? If so, do you want to do business with a company that neglects its most important marketing tool?
Frequently updating your web site is important for several reasons. It shows site visitors that you’re alive and kicking. It ensures that you have the right information about your products and services on display to potential customers. And it can boost your rankings on Google and other search engines by adding fresh content on a regular basis.
How often should you update?
The answer varies with each page or section on your site. Depending on your product or service, some pages may need updating daily. Others will require weekly or monthly updates. Some areas can go a year or more without change.
Bop Design recommends the following guidelines:
About/History. Your company’s history, mission and purpose probably don’t change very often. As long as the information on this page remains accurate, it can go a long time without updating.
Team/Bios. Do you still have people listed on the team page who left the company in 2008? If so, get rid of them! What about employees who came aboard several months ago but still haven’t been added? Letting this area get out of date sends a negative message to employees and site visitors.
Products. Obviously, this section requires the most intense scrutiny, especially with pricing and availability. Most companies will want to check it frequently.
Services. It’s important to send a very clear message about what you do and don’t do. If you’re providing a service that isn’t listed here, add it. If you stop offering a service, remove it.
Clients. If you operate a service or B2B firm, people want to know who you do business with, so keep your clients list fresh. At Bop Design, we always add each new client website to our portfolio, typically within days of launching their website.
Blog. Nothing says “we don’t care” to site visitors like a blog where the latest post is several months old. The key is to balance frequency with consistency. It’s better to blog once a month for a year than to blog three times a day for a week and then suddenly drop off the blogosphere.
As a general rule of thumb:
- Update your Team page whenever someone comes or goes.
- Audit your About and Services sections once a quarter to make sure they’re still in line with your company mission, direction and goals.
- Update your Clients section every time you add a new client, or at least once a month. If you have a long sales cycle, once a quarter may suffice.
- Check your products/services sections as often as is appropriate for your business.
- For most companies, a weekly blog is enough to keep it fresh. Some can get by with once a month. Anything over a month looks stale, regardless of the business.
Regular website updates are essential, but don’t make change just for the sake of change. Everything on your site should have a purpose, and the content should always align with what visitors are hoping to find when they come to your site.