One of the questions I get asked the most is "how often should I update my website?" While many questions I get have a pretty straightforward answer, this one is a little trickier. There's no set timeline that works for everyone. Instead, I encourage clients to ask themselves a few questions and often, the answer reveals itself.
Has my business changed?
If you have recently added services, new products, or discontinued services or products, it's time for an update. If you have recently moved locations, renovated office space, or added new team members, you'll want your website to reflect it.
Is my website easy to navigate on a mobile device?
If the answer is no, it's time to update that site. With more and more people relying on their smartphone to access websites, you'll have to be mobile-friendly if you ever hope to convert viewers to customers. Google also continues to give preference to mobile-friendly sites.
Is my website easy to use?
Ask a friend to look for something specific on your website (Hours, contact number, mailing address, staff members, etc.) and count how many clicks it takes to find the information. If it's more than two or three at the most, it's time to re-organize your site.
Is my website accomplishing its purpose?
Now, this question requires that you state and understand the purpose of your website. Are you trying to increase sales? Increase traffic to your store? Promote a specific brand? Whatever your goal, you should be measuring it and then evaluating the performance regularly. If it's not accomplishing the stated purpose, it's time to re-think the design.
Once you have the website structure in place and feel good about the purpose and user experience, it can be pretty simple to make regular updates to your site. I definitely recommend using a calendar and scheduling updates. We're much more likely to update our site when we have it scheduled ahead of time and plan time to make it happen (my calendar said today was BLOG POST day so here I am!). So go through and pick one day a month that you can spend one hour on your website. Block it off and don't be tempted to ignore it.
Here are some easy, quick ways to update your site that will help your SEO (Google loves new content) and help your website audience, too:
1. If you have a calendar, add a few events! Be sure to include helpful details like event times, locations, and directions, if appropriate.
2. If you have a blog, add one or two new blog posts (Squarespace and WordPress both let you write posts ahead of time and schedule them so definitely take advantage of this option).
3. Update your FAQ Page. Add one additional question and answer each month that helps your audience. Not sure what to add? Think about what you receive the most calls or emails about and see if you can answer that question on your FAQ page instead.
4. If you have a rotating banner section on your homepage, add some new photos and delete any that are obviously dated.
5. Squarespace offers a great announcement bar that is really easy and quick to update. If your platform has something similar, change this out as often as you can!
6. Swap out photos throughout the site for new ones and be sure to add captions, as well as metadata for the photo.
By spending just one hour each month on your website, you'll make a big impact and drive new traffic to your site. And since it's fresh on my mind, if you're looking for a great planner to keep track of when you need to update your site, please do check out the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I love my technology (hello iCal -- I will never leave you) but I still find that using a paper planner for daily and monthly tasks is necessary. The Simplified Planner helps me manage all the things -- kid schedules, house tasks, business plans, appointments, etc. and with so many designs available, there's one for everyone! I'm using the daily planner this time around but there is also a great weekly version.
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