How often should your website be rebuilt or updated?
We all know how important first impressions are. Consider the first impression that your customers are likely to have with your business. Nowadays, consumers spend a significant amount of time conducting online research about businesses, products and services before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. This online research may include checking out your various social media channels, exploring online directories for customer reviews, and visiting your company’s website.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target market and take a moment to visit your website. What type of first impression do you get? Is the information clear and concise or does it leave you with many unanswered questions? Is your website easy to navigate or does it resemble something from the late 1990’s? Remember, your website is the face of your brand. It’s how many of your customers first discover your business. When your website is out-dated, it is often perceived that your business is also out-dated.
Before you begin to panic and conclude that your website needs a total revamp, hear us out. Keeping your website up-to-date doesn’t mean that your company needs to spend thousands of dollars designing a brand new website each month. There are many other ways to keep a website up-to-date. Updating your CMS system, posting monthly blog articles and updating your product/services pages are often enough to keep your website up-to-date and relevant to potential customers.
How often should I be updating my website?
Simply put, as often as possible! It is important to keep your website up-to-date for both customers and search engines. When a website is regularly updated, Google recognizes this and treats it as relevant. Regular website updates are one of the many things that Google considers for its search engine rankings; therefore, a frequently updated website will have more success with organic search engine rankings than a website that has been left unattended to over the years to collect dust.
Think about your car and what would happen to it if you went 2-3 years without conducting any type of maintenance. It probably would not run very well, if at all. That is not to say that you need to purchase a new car every year. A few oil changes, tire rotations and brake replacements will often suffice. It’s the same concept with your website. Regular website updates and maintenance will keep both your customers and the search engines pleased. We recommend updating your website at least once a month.
What types of website updates should I be doing?
Website updates do not have to be complex but they are crucial to a site’s success. Not only do website updates sit well with search engines, they give your customers a reason to return back to your website for more.
Updating your website can be something as simple as integrating a new WordPress blog system on your site, writing monthly blog articles or adjusting your website’s content writing to reflect any changes or updates relevant to your business. By writing fresh content about your products, services or news, you are telling both your customers and search engines that you are an expert in your field with lots of relevant, valuable information to share.
Many businesses struggle with website writing because they don’t know what types of content they should be writing about. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers and think about what types of questions they might have about your products or services. Each one of these questions can be treated as an opportunity to write content on.
There may also be an opportunity to expand on your website’s current content writing. Take a moment to review your website’s current content to see if there is an opportunity to expand upon what is already written. Perhaps your company offers a new product or service. Why not write about it on your website?
Finally, it is important to let search engines know when updates have been made to your website. This gives search engines, like Google, a heads up that there is fresh content to be crawled and indexed. This can be done by creating a new XML sitemap for your website and registering it with the appropriate search engines.
For websites with a built-in CMS system, XML sitemaps can sometimes be generated through third-party plugins. For websites that do not have a CMS system, updating an XML sitemap will have to be done manually. A new XML sitemap can be downloaded at xml-sitemaps.com for free. Once downloaded and uploaded to your site, you can visit Google Console or other search engine sites to let them know that there is a new XML sitemap to be crawled.
How much do website updates cost?
Like most things, it depends. The cost of website updates can be influenced by many factors. Using the automobile example, each vehicle model has its own parts and engine; furthermore, vehicles come in many different shapes and sizes. The same concept can be applied to website updates. Some websites are going to be more expensive to update than others. In order to determine the cost of a website update, our team will spend time thoroughly reviewing your current website, listening to you outline your business objectives and work with you to develop a plan of action.
For search engine optimization updates, we often recommend something we refer to as an ‘initial SEO push’. This is comparable to an oil change for your vehicle. It ensures that your website is equipped with the basic, fundamental elements for search engine rankings. Similar to oil changes, SEO is not a one-time thing. A successful SEO strategy involves ongoing updates and changes in order to stay relevant with the ever-evolving algorithms of search engines.
After the initial SEO push, we often recommend a monthly maintenance plan. Depending on the plan, this could include monthly updates such as keyword optimization, site speed optimization, on-page SEO, off-page SEO and blog writing. All of our monthly maintenance plans are no contract and include quarterly performance reports so that you can see your results and track your return on investment. The exact pricing structure will depend on the size of your website, the amount of work that needs to be done and what you are looking to accomplish.
How do I know when I need a new website?
Has your business grown substantially in a relatively small time period? This might mean that your business has outgrown its current website, especially if your website is tasked with making sales through an online store. Unfortunately, regular website updates are not always enough to keep your site performing as it should and a new website is sometimes required.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend a website redesign/revamp every 3-4 years. The Internet is always changing and so are its search engines. A website redesign/revamp will help to keep your website up-to-date with both technology and search engine algorithms. Google and Bing are constantly updating their search engine ranking algorithms and it is important for your website to remain relevant in their eyes.
If you are still unsure of whether or not your company needs a new website, here are some key indicators that it does:
- Your business has grown substantially in a relatively small time period
- Your company is going through a major rebranding
- Your analytics show that website visits have significantly decreased
- You want to begin selling your services/products in an online store
- Your current website is not mobile-friendly (mobile-responsive)
- Your website was built in generation Web 1.0
If you would like to learn more about updating your website or building a new one, we are happy to answer your questions. Please contact FirstPage Marketing at 604-866-2230 or fill out a form on our website. We offer various website design, development and update services. Visit our Showcase page to see some of the work we have completed for clients over the years.