As you probably know, the Internet is a constantly growing and evolving media platform.
New information replaces old information on a daily basis.
In fact, today alone, 109,426 .com domain names have been registered!
This influx of new websites is a great reason to keep your own fresh website…
After all, no one wants to invest a lot of money in a website only to turn around and become “yesterday’s news.”
A Site That’s Not Updated Loses Value
If you haven’t kept your website up-to-date, it’s time to rethink your strategy…
Not only do search engines love frequently updated sites, but a fresh website also:
- Incites visitors to check back often for new content and updates.
- Allows you to feature company news like new products, services, or meetings.
- Gives you a chance to provide value (to lead to sales) without directly pitching your leads all the time.
Of course, the above are just a few reasons to keep your site updated… but there are also negative effects of a stale website.
For instance, if visitors see outdated announcements or content, they may assume you no longer support your business. This could lead them to buy from a competitor instead of you.
Treat Your Website Like a Garden
Think of your website as a garden. If it’s left unattended, weeds will grow and your plants are likely to shrivel up and die.
To get the most out of any garden, you must prune, trim, fertilize, aerate, plant, and remove pests in a strategic manner. And, that’s just a few of the things a garden needs to be pretty and productive.
Your website is the same way. It needs regular maintenance and updates to keep it functioning properly, attracting visitors, and generating maximum revenue.
Creating a Site That’s Easily Updated
If you still have a website that a developer has to update for you, you should look into switching to a content management system (like WordPress).
A content management system (or CMS) will allow you to quickly and easily update your own content without paying for or waiting on your Web developer’s help. Learn more about WordPress here.
If you already have a CMS but aren’t updating it, maybe you’re overwhelmed with everything else going on in your business.
If that’s the case, here are 5 easy ways to a fresh website now.
5 Ways to Update Your Website Today
1. Add a blog (and keep it updated).
If you don’t have a business blog, get one! It’s a great way to update your site—even if you only have time to do it once a month. Don’t know what to talk about? First, consider your target market and what they’re searching for online.
For example, I created ComfyEarrings.com. Visitors who come to the site are looking for “comfortable earrings,” so any content I can create around those keywords is sure to drive more visitors to the site.
If you’re lacking ideas for your blog, here are a few:
- Review something. What are your visitors interested in? Maybe the newest business book or a hit movie? Write a review and share it with your visitors.
- Take a poll. If you’re unsure what your visitors want, ask them. Create a poll asking about their biggest questions and concerns. Then, write content to address those things.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal. Do you have a lesson or insight to share? Did something happen this morning that relates to your business? Do you do something quirky to spread the news of your product? Write about those things.
- Interview someone. You can do this via email or phone. Then, turn the interview into a blog post. You may also want to post the recording for those who’d rather listen.
Or take a cue from the folks at Marriott.
Bill Marriott, chairman and CEO of Marriott International, updates this blog roughly once a week and posts about everything from company stories to lessons learned.
Here’s another example: The Starbucks blog, “My Starbucks Idea,” where visitors can post their ideas and suggestions and vote on others:
Most of the posts here are ideas that made it to “Ideas in Action.” As a result, many of these posts are new or returning product announcements.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to create tons of content to have a fresh website. One article per week should be plenty and then you can repurpose that content into infographics, social updates, email blasts, and more.
An updated—and relevant—blog will also drive more traffic to your website and help you become an authority in your industry. Just look at the Sharpie blog where they share Sharpie creations, tutorials, and more:
2. Visit, read, and interact with your own website.
When’s the last time you visited your website with your “new visitor” eyes on. If it’s been a while, do that today.
Go to your site and look around. Is the user experience good? Does anything seem outdated? What questions do you have? When’s the last time you updated your home page?
Be honest with yourself and you should see several things you can spruce up right away.
Having trouble? Here are two techniques you can try:
A. Have someone else visit and critique your site.
Or better yet, use a service like UserTesting.com to have random people give you feedback. You can even watch how they use your site to decide if your calls to action are as obvious as you think.
B. Visit a few other websites in your industry for inspiration.
What do they talk about? How do they keep their site up-to-date and fresh? Remember, this isn’t so you can copy someone else’s site, but instead pick up ideas to adapt for your own website.
3. Add images and videos to your site.
If you’re not a writer, it may be easier for you to update your website with images and videos. Just remember to make your images and videos search engine friendly so the search engines can see your new content.
Depending on your business, you could create a gallery page to show off your new projects, like this from AbeCajudo.com:
Or you could make a shopping page to feature new products, like this one from merchworld.eu:
Videos are also a great way to update your content. You could offer training videos or even product demonstrations. Here’s a great example from GoToMeeting:
4. Keep up with web design trends.
You don’t have to be a web designer or graphic designer to know what’s currently in style. Just browse a few popular, fresh websites to see what’s trending—and then either incorporate those yourself or hire a designer to help.
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, it’s pretty simple to change out sidebars, logos, and other graphics.
So… how should you change your graphics?
One idea is flat design. Not only is it really popular now, but Apple also cemented its popularity with iOS7. According to this article from The Next Web, flat design is here to stay, at least for 2014.
Here’s an example of flat design from fostr.com:
And, speaking of trends, sliders appear to be on the way out. Here are a few reasons why this may be:
- Generally content in a carousel or slider doesn’t help your SEO efforts because many search engines can’t see the content.
- Many mobile devices still don’t support sliders and, when they do, the slider might not appear correctly on a mobile screen.
- Sliders tend to load slowly… slowing down the rest of your site and causing frustrated users.
- And, of course, sliders can distract your visitors from the real actions you want them to take—like signing up for something or buying your product.
How’s that for an easy update? Simply remove your slider. Instead, put your best, most current content—or an opt-in offer—in that space.
5. Update other content – besides your blog.
If you have a blog, great job! But, don’t forget about the rest of your site. Here are a few things to freshen up regularly:
- Social media profiles and updates. If you have social media profiles tied to your site, be sure to check in and update often. If this is an issue, try a tool like Hootsuite to schedule future posts.
- Check your main pages for outdated information and references. Maybe when you first started your business, you used character references instead of testimonials. That’s okay, but be sure to switch them out ASAP.
- Don’t forget your FAQs. Often you might have a policy in place and create your content with that in mind. If something changes—like your shipping or guarantee policy—make sure to update all relevant information to avoid customer confusion or customer support issues.
- Add new testimonials. If your testimonials have dates or if your sales rely on social proof, make sure to ask for and encourage testimonials. Then, remember to update your site with those.
- If you’re selling something, make sure your products and information are up to date. No one wants to buy an Internet marketing guide written in 2004, right?
- Consider adding “Company News” to your sidebar. Here you can add the status of your production, new products on the way, new partnerships, and more. Just remember to update this often to keep a fresh website.
- Also, don’t forget to update your website’s functionality. If you’re using a CMS, you probably have a theme and plugins that need to be updated regularly. Be sure to do this to protect your website from user issues and potential scam artists. If you need help with this step, check out this article for more information.
As you can see, there are many ways of keeping a fresh website. It’s often just a matter of deciding what to do and when. Personally, I strive to update my blog once a week and my social media statuses several times each week.
A small- to mid-size company could spend as little as a few hours each month updating their website. A larger company could benefit from a full-time team member updating the site, content, and social media profiles.
Either way, whether you choose to update monthly, weekly, or daily, you’re sure to see results from your efforts.
Just remember, a fresh website and updated content equals a better search engine rank, more traffic, repeat visitors, and many other benefits. If you don’t have time to update your content yourself, consider hiring a professional writer to do it for you. The results will be well worth it!
So, how about you? Are you planning to update your website soon? Or is it already a fresh website?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Christina Gillick.