How often do you update your website?

Are you happy with your website? Do you love the way it looks? Is it bringing you in plenty of clients? And do you feel that the words sum up exactly what your business does for your customers?

I work on a lot of websites for both start-ups and established businesses. Often I’ll get involved with creating fresh copy for a website during a full redesign project.

A redesign usually comes about because a business owner gets to the point where their website is three (or more) years old and they realise that their business has changed so much that the website no longer reflects what they do, or doesn’t fully demonstrate their experience and skills.

Sometimes they’re acting in response to a client who has expressed surprise that their website is so out of date. And sometimes they’ve just reached a tipping point where they feel that the website is so awful it must be dealt with!

As part of the project we’ll usually have some pretty wide-ranging discussions, answering questions such as:
“What’s the purpose of your website?”
“Who is your target customer?”
“Why do you do what you do, and how are you different from your competitors?”

A website rewrite is a great opportunity to really think about where your business is going and how it’s going to get there.

Once a project is complete, with a swish new design and several pages of freshly written copy, then there’s a tendency to think, “our work here is done”. Everyone involved heaves a sigh of relief that the website is finished and gets back to work.

But what if you moved away from the “build it and forget it” model and remained focused on your website at all times? Regularly updated content is the lifeblood of a healthy website.

I’d liken it to running, or any other form of exercise. If I want to keep my speed up (relatively speaking – I’m no Paula Radcliffe) and feel healthy in body and mind then I have to run three times a week. And it’s not just mindless running at the same speed each time – I plan interval sessions, hill running and work on my core strength. If I don’t run for two weeks then I lose fitness and it’s harder to get up to speed.

The same goes for your website. Regular updates of fresh, valuable content are much more important than a big revamp every few years. And planning your content can make sure it’s all valuable content that informs or educates your readers and helps you to climb the Google rankings. You might still want to redesign your website every few years, but your content will remain up to date most of the time.

We all know that Google likes fresh content, but what kinds of things can you do to keep the omnipotent search engine happy?

• Are you adding new client testimonials as you collect them?
• Do you regularly create new case studies, to tell a story of how you help your customers so that your prospects can really see what you do?
• Is your blog a source of useful information that your website visitors will return to again and again?

If you can’t answer yes to these questions then it’s probably a good idea to set aside some time to update your website, or ask someone to do it for you. Ideally you should also monitor your Google Analytics account so you can see what impact the regular updates are having. Then you’ll find that investing in updating your website will become a no-brainer. Good luck!