10 Reasons Why You Should Regularly Update Your Website Content

As a web designer or developer, how many times have you designed a fantastic website that has stayed exactly the same for years after you built it? I bet it’s a lot.

Many people have the attitude that once their website goes live, it is effectively ‘complete’. This attitude is dangerous and can stop a website from reaching its full potential.

I’m going to share the top 10 reasons why all website owners should regularly update their site’s content. It’s a vital way to make your website – and your business – more successful. However, many people neglect this important task.

Use the tips in this article to benefit your own website. You can also share it with your clients to convince them to prioritize their website content on a regular basis. (Hint: This is a fantastic way to sell ongoing maintenance packages!)

What is Website Content?

Before we start, let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing.

When I mention website content, I’m referring to everything that visitors can actually see on the front end of the website. The exact content depends on your site but would usually include the text on all your pages, images, blog posts (if you have a blog), products (if you have an online shop), events (if you have an events booking website), and any other content types.

This is all content, and it all needs to be refreshed regularly. Next, I’ll reveal the 10 reasons why this makes such a difference.

#1 – Your Content Should Evolve With Your Business

Whatever business you’re in, it’s likely that you’re constantly making changes to your products, services or whatever else it is that you do.

For example, if you offer services then you probably tweak what’s included in your services every now and then as you develop your business. If you offer products then you may release new versions or iterations of your products. Your team members might move on and you might recruit new colleagues.

Even if you have a personal blog and aren’t a company, things will still change that you’ll need to update. For example, if you have a parenting blog then you might have mentioned the age of your children, which obviously changes every year!

This means that even if you think your website is complete, your content is likely to get out of date surprisingly quickly.

#2 – Search Engines Reward Websites That Are Updated Regularly

Not many people realize this, but if you never update your website then your search engine ranking is likely to drop over time. That’s because search engines look at how often a website is updated as a sign that it’s active and fresh.

If you haven’t updated your site for 3 years then understandably, search engines will see it as being neglected and less worthy of a good ranking.

This means that you need to make regular updates to your site as a quick and easy way of boosting your search engine position. I’m not saying that you need to completely rewrite your website content on a regular basis. I just mean that you should be making minor tweaks fairly regularly, and maybe bigger changes on an occasional basis. This tells the search engines that your site is fresh and up to date.

#3 – Keep Making Your Website More Effective

These days, website owners have access to valuable tools about how people are using their website. This data offers a huge opportunity to make your website more effective and increase your success.

If you leave your website as it is and don’t update it regularly, then you’re missing a valuable opportunity. Take advantage of this important data by analyzing it and learn. Use your findings to revise your website content and improve the experience for your visitors.

#4 – Improve Conversions by Regularly Changing Your Calls to Action

Nearly all websites want to ‘convert’ their visitors in some way. This might be selling products, obtaining newsletter signups, contact form submissions, or something else.

Calls to action have an important influence on your conversion rate. A ‘call to action’ can be any part of your website that is designed to inspire visitors to make a particular action (which, in turn, leads to a conversion). This could be e-commerce product ‘Buy’ buttons, ‘Contact us’ buttons linking to your contact form, or maybe newsletter ‘Subscribe’ buttons.

A lot of research has gone into the science of conversion rate optimization. As well as following best practices in terms of calls to action, design and layout, you can significantly improve conversion rates by making ongoing tweaks over time.

Use analytics software to monitor and review your conversion rate on a regular basis. This might be conversion or goal tracking in Google Analytics, or the reporting on a specific part of your site such as an e-commerce package or newsletter signup form.

Make regular changes to your calls to action. Before long, you’ll start to see patterns. By tweaking your website content in this way, you can convert more visitors and make a big difference to your conversions.

#5 – Implement New Research & Best Practice

As a web professional, I’m sure you read lots of articles about how to create better websites. One week you might be reading about UX design. The next, you might be reading about effective typography.

The primary purpose of this research is to become better at your job and improve your clients’ websites. Don’t forget to make the same changes to your own website. As you develop your skills, your website can develop too!

#6 – Adopt Current Web Design Trends

Most people think of design when they talk about web design trends. However, website content is also subject to changing trends.

For example, a few years ago most websites had quite cluttered pages with one or two sidebars as well as the main content area. More recently, the fashion has changed. Web design now favors uncluttered, minimalist content with no distractions.

You can keep your website looking current without embarking on a major redesign by refreshing your content to meet the latest trends. For example, you could remove the sidebar and instead embed calls to action directly in the main body of the page.

#7 – Improve Your Website Navigation Over Time

When you first design a website, you obviously plan the navigation structure to be as intuitive as possible. It’s such a shame how this often falls apart over time.

As a website owner adds new pages and makes other changes, the structure often becomes illogical and confusion. You can make your website more intuitive by regularly refreshing your navigation structure.

Ideally, a website’s navigation should also evolve as you add more and more content. For example, a new blog works best with posts presented in a standard list with large images, or maybe a masonry grid. Once you have dozens or hundreds of posts, your old posts start to lose traffic and become hard to find. You can improve traffic to your blog by improving the navigation, for example, add an index page to helps visitors find posts more easily.

#8 – Continually Optimize Your Website

When you first design a website, you probably do some keyword research to identify the best phrase to optimize for. You then write (or encourage your client to write) the website content around these keywords.

But the thing is, keywords should change over time. If you type any key phrase into Google Trends, you’ll see that specific key phrases become more and less popular at different intervals. As a result, you can improve a site’s SEO by regularly researching the best key words and re-optimizing the website content accordingly.

#9 – Add SEO-Friendly Content

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A blog is one of the most effective ways you can improve a website’s on-site SEO. This is because:

  1. It’s a fantastic opportunity to add a stream of fresh, keyword-rich content to your website, and;
  2. Blog articles can be much longer and more in-depth than standard static web pages.

This doesn’t just apply to blog posts. It also works with a latest news section, portfolio, case studies, upcoming events, etc. Either way, it’s a great way to keep your website new and fresh.

Use a blog to grow your website’s content over time. Each new article should be optimized for a different keyword. They’ll all work together to help you rank for a wide range of key phrases. Before long, you’ll end up with a much wider variety of website content compared to writing everything as a one-off and then leaving it.

As a busy web designer or developer, you’ll know how easy it is to put off adding new posts as other things always seem to come first. That’s what happens with our own blog and portfolio, anyway! Write a list of possible topics as soon as you think of them and try to diarize when you’ll write new posts. This will help to make sure it actually happens.

#10 – Keep Your Website Legally Compliant

The new GDPR regulations came into effect on 25th May 2018. Website owners worldwide (not just in the EU) have been forced to update their content to reflect the new legislation and ensure compliance. As a web professional, you will have had to do this on your own website and your clients’. I remember the same thing happening when the EU cookie law was implemented back in 2011.

This underlines the importance of updating your website in line with the law. You are responsible for staying aware of legislation that can affect your business and your website, and for updating your content accordingly.

How to Keep Your Website Content Up to Date

If you use a content management system such as WordPress, then you have all the tools you need to keep your website up to date.

Here are some tips to help you with this:

  • Set a regular reminder – Set a regular reminder to re-read the content on your website and make any updates. How often you do this depends on the nature of your site. I’d recommend somewhere between every one and three months. In addition, you should make changes whenever you’re aware that something has changed that affects your website. For example, if you recruit a new staff member then you should add their profile to your ‘Team’ page straight away.
  • Navigate your website as a regular visitor – When you refresh your content, don’t just look through the list of pages in the back end – you’re bound to miss something. Instead, visit your public-facing website as if you were a normal visitor. Read the homepage first and click on all the links in your menu to visit the other pages. This will show you the whole website as your visitors see it, including other content types such as widgets. You can then change anything that’s out of date.

And that’s it! It’s easy to tweak a website’s content on an ongoing basis so that you can keep it up to date and accurate. Depending on the size of the site, it doesn’t have to take very long but it’s definitely worth doing.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several important reasons to review your website content on a regular basis and make changes to it. This benefits you by making sure the information is accurate and correct for your real visitors, as well as helping with your search engine optimization or SEO.

Set a regular reminder to review the content on your own website, and put it into practice. Also use the advice in this article to communicate with your web design clients about why they need to keep their own content up to date.

The end result? Your own website will be more successful; and more of your clients will hire you to take care of their website for them!

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