How Often Should I Update My Website? – Part 1
Not all website updates are created equal. There are content updates, application updates and site revises, and then the mother of all updates the site relaunch.
I was thinking about it the other day and realized that we have made a major site redesign about once a year since we began our company back in 2006. Whew, that’s seven major overhauls of our main website! I wouldn’t recommend that for your company, but I can’t over emphasize the importance of refreshing your website with new content and upgrades and, yes, every so often you should redesign and relaunch your business website.
Ongoing Content Updates
How often you make content updates really depends on your website and business objectives. A static brochure website probably won’t have to be updated more than once or twice a year. It’s always a good thing to revisit your website and make sure all your business information is correct and up to date. Have a new product line? You’re now open on Sundays? You finally got that LinkedIn account set up? Make sure your website is current and up to date by scheduling an annual review.
However, for some businesses, more frequent updates will be optimal and necessary. Those businesses are ones that could benefit from ongoing content like a blog, calendar of events, testimonials, portfolios, and so on. For instance, with bMighty2, we started by looking to add new content to our site at least once a week, now we look to update content on a daily basis as our business objectives have changed. Our long term goal is to be creating new content 3-5 times a day. Now this isn’t to say you need to update your website that frequently, but, for our business model and clients, it makes sense. How often you update and add content will be driven largely by your business objectives, your site users, and by the type of content your producing.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- Static Brochure Website update. At least once a year
- Short timely updates of 250-500 words. Weekly
- Longer more researched analysis of over 500 words. Monthly
Why create ongoing content?
Although, creating a routine to add regular content to your website can be time consuming, the benefits can out way the costs and there is a good bit of research to suggest that the return on investment is worth the time and money. Again, this is largely going to be determined by your business objectives.
So, why should you create ongoing content? Here’s a short list:
Search Engine Optimization Benefits. Creating a wealth of ongoing content can help you in a number of different ways with your search engine optimization. One, search engines like sites that update often, they rank higher and the site is crawled more often. Additionally, the more content you have and the more activity and links that happen around and into your site the higher your domain authority which will help you rank higher on all relevant keyword searches.
Tell Your Story. Blogging can help you tell your story and bring your small business to life by setting your business apart from the competition. More and more purchase decisions come down to intangibles and your clients ability to identify their life with your products and services and the values they associate with them. Which for you allows you to sell your wares for a premium. Why buy Charmin over the store brand? They are both toilet paper but Procter & Gamble has spent millions of dollars to create a perception that their product is more than just toilet paper which allows them to charge 30 more than your generic toilet paper company. Blogging can help to create the “value add” for your small business.
Become the Expert. For many products and services being an expert in the associated field can strengthen your position against your competition. Take for instance, BackCountry.com. I can buy outdoor gear at a lot of different places but when I buy from BackCountry.com, I am buying gear from outdoor experts, which makes me more confident about the purchase I am making hence I am willing to pay more for products I could find cheaper elsewhere. Blogging can help you set yourself apart as an expert in the mind of potential customers and clients too.
How Do I find the Time?
One of the biggest challenges with creating ongoing content is finding the time. I have joked many times that I got really good about making regular blog updates when I stopped being responsible for our blog! But that being said there are a few things you can do to help be more consistent with your content. Here are a few tips:
Create a Calendar. Having a plan for your content can help you focus your time and efforts. At bMighty2, we try to plan at least a month in advance. This takes the pressure off because I know what I will be writing about and it allows me to get drafts started and work on posts whenever, I need a break from other things or when I have a little free time.
Pay Someone to Manage Your Blog for You. If you see the value of creating content on your site you may want to consider hiring someone to specifically maintain it for you. Often times, the costs are less than you might think and for a solid writer it may only take an hour or maybe two to create a well crafted blog post. Having someone consistently blogging can take that pressure off you to make regular updates and if you can through in a few blog posts here and there then you can double the benefits!
Next on Part II: Annual Updates.