One of the most common issues I find with websites is what I call the “Build it and Forget it” syndrome. In simple terms, it’s the website that you build today and do not change a thing for the next few years. This disease in websites is as prevalent as the common cold is in humans. It’s cause is simple: it’s “old web” thinking in a “new web” world. In the old web (say mid-1990’s to early 2000,) the idea was simply to copy and paste the content from your company’s brochure into your website and then you were set. At that point, you were fine to leave it for the next few years and many businesses did just that.
That’s not the case anymore.
The new web is all about content, but not just any content… fresh content. In the new web, the websites that get the most traffic are those where the content is constantly changing, being added to, and improved. Users want and expect to see or learn something new each time they visit your website and they view those websites that do so as more valuable. Think about it, you actually give them a reason to return!
With that in mind, let me give you just 3 quick reasons why you should consistently update your website:
1. Search engines reward websites that update often by moving them up the rankings
The value in search engines is that you can find just about anything you are looking for on the web. But, we don’t want to just find anything, we want to find the “right thing.” So in order to remain a valuable tool to users, search engines needed a way to identify what listings are considered “good stuff” and what is not. One identifier, a term called “frequency,” is used to determine how often your website is updated. If a website is updated often, then search engines consider it a consistent source of new information and awards it some points that can help move its listing up in the search results. This is very beneficial as it can bring more traffic to your website.
Think about it. If your local newspaper delivered this Sunday’s edition, then next Sunday they delivered exactly the same thing, then again the next Sunday and so on and so forth, eventually you’d just cancel your subscription. Why? Because there is no longer anything of value. The content is exactly the same so why would you want to keep receiving it? Its the same with your website in that if it never changes, why would someone who has already read it want to come back? Search engines know this and could penalize you by moving you down in the rankings.
2. Giving your visitors a reason to come back will increase the chance of closing a transaction
This one actually builds off the previous reason. If search engines think your website is outdated, then wouldn’t you think the visitors to your website feel the same? If I came to your website today, then came back next month and nothing has changed, I would probably think that nothing is really happening with your business. You must not be growing. You must not be innovating. You must not be getting any customers. That leads me to start questioning if your product or service is any good? Is there something wrong with you? Think about it this way, seeing even simple changes like posting news and announcements shows a visitor progress and progress is good at getting a prospect to realize why they need to become a customer.
What does providing new content translate into? A better chance at closing a transaction with a prospect who visits your website. They may not be ready the first time they drop by, but by the second or third time they visit and read that new announcement about “special financing” or our “great new service” it may be just the thing they were waiting for. Cha’Ching!
3. Tracking what affect the changes have in your website’s performance
We’re big fans of making decisions based on data. Knowing what works and what doesn’t in terms of attracting traffic that can become customers is what helps make a website successful. So, if your website never changes, then how do you know if it is operating at its peak performance? Even with web statistics software giving you data about who’s coming to your website and how many, it’s not as valuable as knowing that you could get more traffic by simply changing something or posting something new. How do you learn what that is? Simple, analyze your data, make changes, and track the affect the change had on performance. Who knows, that one piece of information that currently is not on your website may draw in a whole new type of customer you never thought about, but then again you’ll never know if you never post it.
What about you?
We know from our experience that updating and adding new content to your website will consistently improve its performance. However, we want to hear from you. Do any of you have a story about how you changed something on your website or posted new content and it lead to some positive outcome? Share your story with us by posting it in the comments below!