How Often Does a Business Need to Update Its Website?
Getting your business on the web is the first step, and that is often the hardest. A good deal of hard work and resources went into getting the look and usability your clients need while looking you up on the web. It can seem a waste of that time to make design or content changes later, but updating your website periodically is the only way to keep up.
Minor changes can be made relatively easily, but major structural changes will also have to be a consideration in the long haul. The web isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it will change.
Updates to make regularly
Most of the changes or additions that a website needs regularly are content-based. Adding blog posts or articles periodically not only shows your web visitors that you keep it up to date, but it also provides new content for search engines to look over (this is especially important with local search optimization). One of the simplest ways to make sure this content gets put up is to plan it out in a calendar several months ahead in advance, highlighting topics your clients will want to read.
Other changes you should make as the year rolls along are for accuracy. If you have a staff page and someone leaves the company, remove them from the pages where they are mentioned to prevent confusion. A few other considerations that should be updated online as soon as possible:
- Changes to office/storefront hours
- Address, email or phone changes
- Adding new employees to staff pages
- Removing services and products no longer offered
- Updating selections in portfolio or inventory as necessary
Design or Structural Changes
This not only includes the overall design and usability of a website, but also any rebranding efforts you take on should be reflected online as well. The goal of changes to design or structure is to keep a website looking professional and to ensure it is usable to those who visit it.
Don’t think design changes are necessary? Think about web page designs that were prominent in 1999. Most businesses serious about their internet presence wouldn’t use that style in 2012 and beyond — it looks outdated because it is.
So, how often should a business redesign its website? It depends on the size and needs of your business — smaller businesses can typically go up to 2 to 3 years before their needs outgrow the current website they have, while larger businesses that have thousands of pages and a complex structure are more appropriately redesigned every 4 years to maintain a good ROI.
Some changes can be made incrementally over a period of time. If it has been quite awhile since an update or clients aren’t happy with the look/usability, a larger overhaul should be taken on.
A short list of Dos and Don’ts for website design:
- Do make the text and colors use choose easy to read
- Do use fonts that are common to most browsers (Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Georgia, etc.)
- Do keep the look of your website consistent across all pages
- Do have high-quality photos that are easy for a browser to load
- Don’t use CAPS to emphasize a point
- Don’t have a Flash landing page — mobile and tablet users can’t see these and most other users will just click past them
- Don’t hide your navigation bar or social media links
- Don’t use the font Comic Sans
The Website is Updated … Now What?
Once a website redesign is complete and the new look is live, there will be some wrinkles to iron out. You may discover visitors aren’t being directed where they need to go because of confusing navigation or some other issue. Monitor traffic on the website to ensure you are getting the results you want. Be prepared to make a few changes to ensure your clients and prospects are getting what they need.