Congratulations. You’ve designed your website, and it’s now live, giving you a very powerful marketing mechanism to promote your business. However, your website will only be useful if you keep the content current. Keeping your website up to date is called website maintenance, and it’s vital to provide both your customers and search engines with new content. Think of maintaining your website the same way that you think about maintaining your car – you must check it on a regular basis to make sure that it’s running smoothly.
When you update your website’s content regularly, current and potential customers are more likely to visit your site again to see if you have anything new to offer. Also, search engines regularly visit your site, and if they find your content unchanged after visiting it many times, they are likely to downgrade your rank in search engine queries.
When should you update your website? You certainly don’t want to spend money and effort to make changes that don’t add any real value to your site. Here are some good reasons to do so:
- Update your site when you receive new licensing, accreditation, add significant new capabilities, or make any changes or additions to key personnel.
- Update whenever you add a new product line, change prices or begin to provide new services.
- If you have just completed a new project, include a description of it on your website. Also, update when you receive any significant new testimonials from your customers. You should ask you customers for reviews after you complete a project or sale and post them on your website, as these present a positive image to potential new customers.
- Add fresh content to your blog on a regular basis. Visitors are more likely to return if you continually add interesting content, and search engines will also rank your site higher.
- If you’ve issued a press release, be sure also to include a copy on your site.
- Update your copyright statement annually.
- Test and validate any links on your site on a regular basis to be sure that they direct properly.
- Update your “About” page to keep any dates and timeline references current.
- Update your homepage to highlight any changes that you make on your site to make it easier for visitors to find them.
These are all excellent reasons to update your website. When you make maintaining your website a top priority, your reward will be higher search engine rankings and increased sales. After you have decided to update your website, your next choice is how to make those changes. There are two steps required to maintain your site.
First, you need to do a preliminary edit of your website offline. You can do this easily by copying and pasting the material that you wish to change into a word-processing program and make the desired changes.
Then, you have to decide whether you wish to make the changes online yourself or hire a professional web designer to make them. If you are computer savvy and you only wish to make changes in text, there are several software programs available that you can use. If you are planning to make more complicated changes, hiring a professional could save you a lot of time and frustration.