There are many sites that I’ve been to which immediately feel and look out of date. That feeling could come from a look or layout that was popular a few years ago but not anymore, or a date on the “newest” news article that’s two years old. Both can make a visitor lose faith in a business. Instantly, that company seems out of date and out of touch…then out of mind. Soon, you’re back to the search engine results page looking for a more “current” site. Just today I saw a site that was last updated in 2006. The only reason I stuck around the site for a few minutes was for nostalgic purposes and to see how comical websites looked then, compared to now.
This is an all too common tale, but it doesn’t need to happen to your site! Obviously, different industries will require updates at different times. Relevancy is key so you should keep a pulse on your industry’s web trends, but staying ahead of the game puts you in a better spot to generate leads and a loyal customer following.
Where to Start
We all have limited time, so finding the most important places to spend your time initially is crucial. Look at your analytics and find out which pages users are visiting the most on your site. More times than not that’s going to be your home page. Your home page is the welcome mat to your site, and you should update this as frequently as possible. RSS feeds for your news or blog pages are easy to add to your home page and can help your page content feel fresh in the eyes of users and search engines.
Also, that date at the bottom of your page that indicates when the site was last updated is crucial. Don’t let your site be the one that I saw last updated in 2006.
Do you have a blog? I sure hope so! A blog is a great way to keep your content fresh and users engaged. Simple and concise articles are best — just make sure to keep them relevant to your target personas and offer some type of valuable tips or advice. This is also a good place to leverage your target keywords and be seen as a source of consistent, credible content in the eyes of search engines.
Types of Content to Update
News articles, blogs, press releases, events and anything with a date should be updated frequently. An old date is a dead giveaway that the site has been a ghost town for a while. Make sure that if you primed visitors’ interest by saying that you would be attending an event, follow that up with some post-event news and/or pictures.
Remember that old “careers” page or “contact us” page that’s lurking somewhere on your site? Those are also important pages to update, since prospective employees or customers may go there right away.
Pictures and site visuals are another piece of content to update. Old pictures and visuals can be an eyesore on a site that contains otherwise strong content. Don’t let some ancient visuals keep visitors from reading your well thought out and written content.
More Reasons You Should Update
You invested a significant amount of time and probably money in your current website. Don’t neglect it – for some of the same reasons you shouldn’t neglect your car. Your car needs oil changes regularly to help keep it running smoothly and effectively; small, regular updates to your site will keep it fresh not only to your visitors but to search engines, too. By now it’s well-known that Google rewards sites with updated content, so all of your meticulous keyword research won’t matter as much if you don’t keep a fresh stream of content flowing.
With these simple tips you’re now primed to pump some new life into a site that may have been neglected for a little too long. Manageable and incremental updates will keep your site looking fresh and current.