How often should you update your website?

I think we can all agree that there’s nothing worse than visiting an outdated website with stale content. Whether it’s pictures that were taken years ago and have become irrelevant, or a blog that hasn’t had a new post added in several years, you are left with a negative impression of that website and business.

In order to keep this from happening, it is imperative that a website is updated regularly and kept current. Why don’t more people do this?

For many business owners, it seems that they are afraid of the time, effort, and money that this may potentially require. The process of getting a website in place initially can be overwhelming enough; the thought of updating it long term can be daunting. For this reason, many people get a website in place and then never give it another thought, hence why you see so many outdated sites on the web.

However, the benefits of keeping your website updated, especially the long-term benefits, are well worth the time and cost investment you may have to make on your part. Read on to discover why having updated content is so important and the frequency with which you should update your website.

Why is having updated content on your website so important?

1. Updating is the core action of content marketing.

Content marketing is the process of creating valuable and relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your audience. One of the main ways a business accomplishes this, and promotes brand awareness and generates sales, is through its website. Without fresh content you cannot do this very effectively; with good, current, and repeating content you can. Thus the content on your website should be analyzed and updated regularly in order to make sure that it is serving this end.

2. It’s good for your users.

Websites are meant to serve users and by giving them fresh content, you provide greater satisfaction to them. A satisfied user will be more likely to come back to your website, purchase your product or book your service, and recommend your website to other people, which is exactly what you want and why your website exists.  

3. It’s a signal that your business is alive and active.

Your website serves as a direction reflection of your business to customers. A current website communicates that your business is still in operation, active, and that you care about your customers, which instills trust. Conversely, an outdated website—such as one with a blog, support forum, or news section that hasn’t been updated in several years—communicates inactivity and may cause people to distrust your business and steer away from it.   

How often should you update your website?

The short and simple answer is that you should update your website whenever you have new, high-quality content to share. You don’t want to unnecessarily update or post on your website just for the sheer sake of putting something new up. If the content you are posting doesn’t contribute to the effectiveness of your website, then it could actually be hurting your efforts instead of helping them. It would be better to wait until you can develop intentional and high-quality content first.

The long answer is that it depends on what kind of website you have and the nature of your business. Overall, every website should be regularly analyzed and evaluated for the effectiveness of its content so that it can succeed in its role as an ongoing and evolving marketing tool. However, the frequency with which this is done and updates are implemented will differ from business to business.

If your website is an e-commerce website, portfolio or blog, it will most likely need to be updated daily or weekly, depending on how often you have new products and work to showcase, how often information about your products and/or services changes, and how often you develop posts and what kinds of topics you are writing about. If you have a website related to news, for instance, you may need to update it every day, or even multiple times a day.

If your website is a corporate website or a website with fixed services, then updating your website every month is probably a good rule of thumb, although some businesses may have to do it more often than that. But for most “normal” websites, an analysis every month will typically be sufficient to determine what new content should be put up, text and/or pictures changed, information updated, etc.  

When it comes to larger-scale evaluations of a website’s design and functionality, most businesses will want to do this bi-annually or annually, in order to ensure that their website is in step with the latest design trends and changes in web technology. Although you don’t want to constantly be making major changes to your website and it is unrealistic to do so, there will most certainly be elements of your site that need to be tweaked and refined as time passes and the digital world advances. A more involved and total revamp of a website design may be required every two to five years, which is the current average lifespan of a website in today’s world. Although this may sound terribly short, it is no surprise given the rapidly-changing nature of technology and the internet.

A Note About Cost

After reading this, you may be wondering about the expense of making updates to your website, a valid concern which I addressed at the beginning of this article. Although there is definitely a cost investment involved when it comes to making website updates, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive, for two main reasons.

First of all, if your website is built within a content management system, then you should have the ability to make many of the website updates yourself, without any cost. A content management system allows you to manage your own website content and to change pictures, text, and information as often as needed. Although you may have to call on a web designer or developer occasionally to hop in and help with some of the bigger changes, you are able to make most of the minor content changes that need to be done regularly on your own.

Second of all, if you are taking time on a regular basis to evaluate your website and update its content, then you won’t be as overwhelmed when it comes to making bigger site changes and most likely, there will not be as much of a cost investment on your part to do so. In fact, you may not even have to do a major overhaul of your website’s design every several years if you have been diligent to make smaller changes along the way and periodically update and tweak the design. The time and effort that you put into regularly doing this will pay off and keep you from potentially having to pay a large amount to “fix” a website you have neglected, where multiple content and design updates have piled up over an extended period of time.

Hopefully after reading this, you have a good understanding of how critical it is to regularly update your website and how often it should be done. Doing so will not only keep your website relevant and competitive, but will ensure its effectiveness so that your business can succeed and reach its goals. If you are interested in learning more about updating your website, or would like to have a website developed within a content management system so that you can update it yourself, please contact us today.

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