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Thread: Should a website be constantly updated?

  1. #1
    Member Needs New Keyboard Array Spider's Avatar
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    Default Should a website be constantly updated?

    I often hear people say that a website should be constantly updated. Suggestions are made, like "write a new article every week." But is this really necessary, and is it wise?

    I can see the sense in it if the site is to make money from the advertisements on the site, but not if the site sells a single product or a limited range, nor if the site is meant to attract clients for a service-provider. The work of a dental office, for example, doesn't change every week.

    What is the best approach?

  2. #2
    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    It depends some on the site and I think the words constantly isn't the best word, though it gets used often. I'd say consistently as opposed to constantly.

    Updated also doesn't have to mean new content. It's more about making incremental changes consistently to improve the site. Take the dental office you mentioned. Their work doesn't change, that's true, but how well does the site itself perform? Say the goal of the site was to acquire new clients for the business. People visit the site, but no one calls to make an appointment. Leaving the site as is wouldn't make sense.

    In that situation you'd want to look over the site's analytics and try to understand why people are visiting, but not calling. Maybe you realize the phone number is buried on a page few people visit so you update the site to make the number more visible. Or maybe the site requires people to fill out a form that could be reworked. Updated in this sense just means improving the site. All websites could be improved.

    The idea with adding new content as the way to update the site has a couple of benefits. One would be to pick up search traffic. More content shows the site is active. New pages can pick up traffic for long tail searches and pick up links to help raise the authority of the site and the pages being linked to.

    In the case of someone selling a single product new pages, say on a blog, can keep people coming back and reading. Many of those people may not be interested in buying the product initially, but the free content removes some of their objections to buying and in time they do buy.

    If your site is a few pages and I read through most of them on my first visit, why would I visit again? I probably won't, which means you have one opportunity to convert me from visitor to customer or client. If your site updates with new content you give me many reasons to keep coming back and have many opportunities to convert me from visitor to buyer.

    Does a site need to keep updating? No, but it will be at a competitive disadvantage to those that do. Think of a brick and mortar store. Do you do nothing once the store is built? Or do you at times move the products around to see where in the store they sell best? Do you place certain items on sale at times and have different displays by the window to attract people in? Do you change products at the register for impulse buys? Do you change up the products you offer? Maybe every so often you even redecorate the entire inside of the store with new shelves, a fresh coat of paint, and new carpeting?

    Why wouldn't you do similar on your site?
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    @haroldmansfield Array Harold Mansfield's Avatar
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    The short answer is no. Every web site does not need to be constantly updated with new information, unless you actually have new information.

    It all depends on what the purpose of the site is. If it's just an online business card for people to find out more about your company, hours of operations, services, location and so on...you are probably directing them to the site by other means, most commonly your business card, or any ads that you have going.

    If you are depending on the web to bring you traffic and customers, then yes, you need to find some way to keep getting articles and information out there, linking back to you, or the competition will bury you because they are doing it.

    So it's easy enough...if you want web traffic..yes you need to feed Google with frequent information.

    If that's not a big concern...then no.
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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    I have to agree that I don't think it needs to be updated every week, but there should be changes fairly regularly. Every web site needs tweaks and updates. Even if it's just changing a picture or rewriting copy to reflect new circumstances, small updates happen all the time.

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    I adamantly agree with vangogh.

    A lot of people in the world treat their website like an online brochure. They drive traffic to it manually, which is a lot of work and expense for very little return. This causes many site owners to think using the Internet for promotion is not money well spent.

    However, those who understand the benefit of using the Internet for getting free search engine, usually also realize it can be a source of never-ending leads for their offline business.

    To that end, constantly updated content makes the search engines happy. It lets them know that someone is there, building the site and interacting with the public. Getting your visitors to return over and over, gives you more changes to convert them to customers.

    If your business is very local you can still monetize the traffic by selling things that appeal to everyone, no matter their geographical area.

    In this day and age, it makes sense to step out of the "brochure" mode of websites and turn them into lead generators.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I want to reiterate again that updating a site doesn't necessarily mean add new content. It also means improve existing content.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with having a "brochure" site. You just have to realize that's all it is and unless you keep promoting it elsewhere it's not going to do much for you. The thing is a website can be so much more. If you leave it as a "brochure" site then you're missing out on all the things the site could be doing.

    Why not take advantage of what a site can do for your business instead of leaving it as is while your competition takes advantage of what their site can do?
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    Super Moderator Array Dan Furman's Avatar
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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the authority aspect. Having a ton of articles (informative blog, etc) relevent to your audience paints your company as an authority. Obviously, this isn't for every site - Best Buy need not tell me they are an authority on DVD's. But, all else being equal, would I choose a contractor that I felt "knew more" because of the depth of their site? Probably.

    However, there's a flipside here - you can't just have any old content. Boring, poorly written, or non-interesting articles will actually hurt you.
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Good points. I'm sure a few will disagree, but we do tend to trust larger sites more. Again it's a sign the site is active and the owner can afford to work on it. And assuming the content is well written it shows off the knowledge of the people behind the site.

    A small site that never changes leaves you wondering if it's been abandoned.
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    I agree that even a brochure site should be updated occasionally. I can't tell you how many times I have looked at a site for a business or professional firm and they have key pages that are clearly out-dated. Things like "the firm will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2008" or "Upcoming events: May, 2009 ..."

    If a business isn't going to freshen its site regularly, it should carefully inoculate its site against built-in obsolescence.

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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Business Attorney View Post
    If a business isn't going to freshen its site regularly, it should carefully inoculate its site against built-in obsolescence.
    Very good point David. If you are doing date specific things, you have to make sure that those things are updated regularly. A listing of trade show dates or something might be able to lag a bit behind, but articles or announcements should be current.

    It only takes a bit of thought at the beginning to figure out whether or not you'll have the time or experience to update your site on a regular basis. If you don't, you're much better off having non time specific content. As you so accurately pointed out, nothing dates a site like "Grand Opening, May 2009".

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