Intentional website design is a crucial piece of a company’s digital marketing success. A website can be many things, but first and foremost it’s the first impression of your brand online to a potential client or customer. When your website is straightforward and easy to navigate, the user experience is exponentially better than if your website design is distracting or overwhelming.
Websites don’t come with an expiration date written on a label. The common question we’re asked at Alter Endeavors goes like this: “How often should I update my website?”
The short answer? Every 2 to 3 years on a larger scale.
The long answer? There are elements of your website that need to be addressed monthly, quarterly, annually as well as every 2-3 years.
This article covers what should be addressed within each time frame to ensure your website is discoverable, functional and representative of your brand and its direction.
Why Should I Update My Website: Every Month
Updating your website every month allows your audience to stay connected to your brand and gives them a reason to return more frequently. Additionally, updating your website with long-form content like blog posts or case studies allows for more opportunities for your website to gain traffic from a search engine optimization perspective.
Aside from new products or articles, monthly updates could include what has changed in your workplace. During COVID-19, it is especially beneficial to inform your clients and customers on how your business is changing to meet the demands of the virus and how it could potentially impact their experience as a customer; whether that includes virtual consultations, longer wait times from a customer service standpoint or shipping delays.
Add new content in the form of:
- Blog posts
- Case Studies
- New team member bios
- Additional service pages
- Additional product listings
- Timely announcements
Why Should I Update My Website: Every 4-6 months
Your website’s performance should be assessed every 4-6 months. This is when you should dive into the details and make sure everything on your site is running smoothly. This includes loading times, checking every link across the site, and how the pages display across desktop, tablet, and mobile phones.
Slow loading times and other technical issues can deter potential customers from engaging with your content or returning to your site in the future. At Alter Endeavors, we offer our clients an Ongoing Site Management service that guarantees your site is running smoothly, from top to bottom, day in and day out.
Assess website performance and functionality by:
- Testing page load times across different web browsers and devices
- Check Google Search Console for any crawl or redirect errors
- Test contact forms across the website
Why Should I Update My Website: Annually
Auditing your website annually is the ideal time to assess what your website is broadcasting to your audience from a product/service standpoint. Take this time to make sure your products/services that you are promoting are up to date and accurate representations of what you offer.
For small-to-medium-sized businesses that tend to shift their focus more frequently, often according to audience interests or demands — this is an opportunity to take note of what may need to change on the grander scale. This way, you have a better sense of the new direction when approaching your site’s design and overall build in another year.
On an annual basis, you should look to:
- Remove or update any services or products that are no longer relevant
- Ensure current pages are properly optimized for search engines
- Make note of what may need to be addressed in the near future
Why Should I Update My Website: Every 2 to 3 years
Every two to three years, you should assess the layout and design of your site from a 30-thousand foot view. While you don’t necessarily need to completely change the layout of the site, modernizing your site with intentional UX/UI touches can be very beneficial. More likely, the content can be further refined to speak to your ideal client or customer, imagery updated to perhaps show more diversity or to move away from any cheesy stock photos and color palette sharpened.
Before completely removing any pages, we suggest seeking an “SEO migration” consultation. This will ensure that you don’t lose a page that is actually responsible for a large percentage of traffic, with clarity on how to make updates while maintaining your search engine positioning.
These visual and content updates across your website every few years should be shared with your network to celebrate and show the growth of your organization.
Every 2 to 3 years, you should:
- Assess your site map and what it prioritizes from a user-flow perspective
- Audit the design of your website and whether it is consistent with best practices
- Refine content according to your target market, if anything has changed.
- Updates to imagery and/or colors if branding has been updated.
When you think of your website as a living entity that requires continuous care, then the idea of updating your website with such frequency comes as no surprise! We often find that when business owners neglect to view their website in this way — they are unlikely to enjoy its full benefits. With the proper process and team in place, your website can be a powerful tool that increases discoverability for your business, educates your clients on the ways your product/service is uniquely better, and converts them on the spot.