Like other aspects of your business, your website must be continually adapting and adjusting to the changing market and desires of your clients.
It’s no longer acceptable (or advisable) to throw up a website and let it run quietly in the background with little input from you. If you want to boost your sales and snag new clients, you need to keep on the ball and take full advantage of your online space.
Your website is one of the best and most accessible forms of marketing for your business. It’s available to the world all day, every day. To harness the power of online marketing through your website, you must invest time into it. A good way of doing this is by implementing a website strategy that includes regularly checking in and updating your website.
By updating your website you will ensure that you are always providing your audience with the most valuable information regarding your products and services.
So how often should you be updating your website design and it’s content?
There is no right or wrong answer to the big question of how often you should update your website. It largely depends on your industry and your target audience. A news website, for example, has to constantly update their website with the latest news and articles in order to stay relevant. Whereas, a restaurant or hotel website could get away with updating on a weekly or even monthly basis.
DESIGN & LAYOUT
Nothing ever stays the same and websites are no different. Styles, fashions, and technology are changing and progressing at an alarming rate. And not keeping up-to-date on these progressions can leave you lagging behind in the online marketplace.
While you may still love your website design from 2009, it may not be ticking the boxes of your audience. Does that 7-year-old website still represent you in the best light? And is it still selling you and your services to your audience?
A dated and old fashioned website will more often than not have a negative effect on your brand. Website visitors are savvy. They have expectations of both the aesthetic and the experience of using websites so if yours disappoints it’s not giving a good first impression.
This doesn’t mean that you have to do a complete redesign every 6 months or even every year, for that matter. But it is beneficial to review your website design at least every two years. Even after that time, your website may still be rockin’ and require only tweaks and minor updates to freshen the look and give it a little facelift.
When you should consider a redesign of your website:
- The design is looking tired and outdated.
- Your business has moved in a different direction.
- You are rebranding your offline materials.
- Your audience are having issues navigating or finding information on your website.
TRENDS & TECHNOLOGIES
One of the most recent advances in website design has been making websites responsive.
If you aren’t aware, a responsive website is one that adjusts (or responds) to different screen sizes. So if you visit a website on your smartphone you are going to have a similar experience when you visit on your laptop because the website adapts to your screen.
Responsive websites get rid of the need to pinch and zoom to view the content, instead, it is presented in the perfect format for you regardless of the device you are viewing on.
So why is this important when we are discussing updating your website? Well… if your website isn’t yet responsive you are doing your business a big disservice.
An exceptionally high number of people are now visiting websites solely from their mobile devices. They quite literally never view websites on a desktop or laptop. What does that mean for your non-responsive website?
Let’s consider the visitor who visits your website and they find it’s not responsive. Are they going to take the time to zoom in and then out again to navigate through your website? Or are they more likely going to hit the back button and click the next website on the list? I’m going bet that it’s the latter.
Responsive design is only one of the latest trends and advances in recent years in the world of websites, there are new ones launching all the time. And while it’s not possible or necessary to implement them all, it is advised to consider the big ones.
When you should consider updating the technology on your website:
- When major usability advances are common place online (i.e responsive design).
- You are fed up of putting up with a hard to use website content management system.
Now we come to one area of your website that should be updated the most, and, that’s the content. This is one aspect of website management that I am constantly asking my clients to do.
Why? Because fresh content has a whole host of benefits to you and your business:
- You are providing your audience with relevant and valuable information on your products and services
- You are establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
- And Google will put more value on your website potentially resulting in a better search ranking.
Setting a schedule to post new content on a regular basis should be a top priority for all small businesses. Regardless of your industry, adding a blog to your website is going to be a bonus. There will always be useful information that you can share with your audience whether you’re a small hotel or a graphic designer. Content wins each and every time.
And it’s not just blog content that you need to add to your website. It is vital that you keep your prices and services up-to-date.
In the past, I’ve spoken with businesses who hadn’t updated the prices on their website for years. This resulted in having to honor the out of date prices when a customer noted that’s what was on the website. Can you afford to accept the same prices as you did 2 years ago? That’s one of the reasons why it’s vital to monitor your website content and adjust accordingly.
While it may not be necessary to update your website on a weekly basis, it is beneficial to make additions at least monthly. This will not only give a better impression to those visiting your website but Google prefers a website that is updated on a regular basis. So it is definitely a win win to make a consistent effort to update.
Not everyone loves the process of designing and building their website, I totally get that. It can be a stressful experience so it’s not surprising that people only do it every 5 years. But considering the benefits of a refresh it is worthwhile doing it every couple of years at least.
However, if you change nothing else on your website I would thoroughly recommend implementing a content strategy where you add and update your content regularly.