Jun 21, 2011
Your website is your image on the web. That image is extremely important because it’s the first impression people get of you or your organization. The importance of keeping your website up-to-date cannot be stressed enough, as this will determine what type of image you present.
Many small business owners still abide by the “set it and forget” philosophy of website design. As a result, their websites can begin to look stale or outdated compared to websites that are newer or frequently updated. Information on a website can become outdated for a number of reasons. You might be offering new services, or discontinuing old ones. You might have shifted gears to deal with the effects of the recession. You might be dealing with new advertising rules (federal, state, or local) that have come into play.
Nonetheless, the importance of a fresh-looking website can’t be underestimated. Visitors are less likely to trust a website that appears outdated or amateurish, and yesterday’s professional website design might make your website look out-of-touch today. Making periodic “spot changes” to your website can help you keep up with popular online trends as well as improve its usability and visual appeal. Although keeping a website current does not need to be a daily or even a weekly activity, it is very importance to its success.
There are numerous disadvantages of not keeping your website up to date; top 4 of them:
- New visitors can recognize old content: There is something about stale content; a savvy web user can recognize it at first glance. If visitors to your website perceive that your content is not fresh, they may look at it once and more likely they will not return again. It’s like the difference between a brochure and a newspaper, a customer may pick up a brochure and read through it once, she may even save the brochure, but believe me, she will not be pulling it out once a month to read through it again, and after a period of time will probably forget she even has it. A newspaper, no matter how small, always has fresh content so that if someone picks it up and likes what he has read, he will likely pick it up again later to see what it says now. Your website is similar, visitors quickly perceive whether it’s like a brochure or a newspaper and treat it as such.
- Returning visitors will not come back again: When a persons visits your website and likes your content, they may bookmark it and return another time to see what’s new. After a period of time when there are no updates, people assume it is not going to change and will stop coming back. It is these returning visitors who are most likely to become your customers, not only do they like what you have to say, but they are interested enough to keep in touch. In this way your website acts as a networking tool to business contacts you may never actually have talked to, potentially keeping in touch with thousands of valuable contacts with very little work on your part.
- Other websites may not link to you: You probably know that getting links from other websites is a great way of getting visitors to your website, but you may not know that this can also drastically improve your search engine ranking. Getting quality websites to link to you can be a very difficult task, a good webmaster does not link to every website that comes along and asks for a link, only those that will offer some valuable information. You will no undoubtedly be able to get some links to your website, even if your website is static, but you can get more and better quality links if your website is fresh and ever changing.
- The competition will have the advantage: By not updating your content regularly, you are giving the advantage to your competitors. Even if they are not updating their websites, if they were to start tomorrow, where would that leave you? But, if you were keeping your website up to date, not only would you have all the advantages listed above, but you would have the edge on any competitors who did not.
Readers are not the only ones looking for fresh content. Other bloggers and Webmasters are always interested in featuring links to new and interesting materials on their own websites. You can attract links from others websites by regularly refreshing your web content, which can dramatically improve your website traffic and search engine rankings. Increase the chances of getting incoming links by creating content known as “link bait,” which is material so fresh and unique that it is immediately linked by a large number of outside websites and blogs.
Updating your web content is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the long-term success of your website. Static information on the web does not hold up well over time, so look for exciting ways that you can refresh your website on a regular basis. Blogs and online forums are just two possible options to ensure a steady stream of new content appears on your website. By investing a little time and effort into updating your website, you can dramatically improve your marketing success, search engine rankings and user results.
Hence, whenever you take the time to upgrade your website, or just give it a little spring cleaning, you have a chance to pull ahead of your competitors, who may not understand the importance of looking sharp and up-to-date in the online world.