The Art of Website Maintenance
Now that you've designed and launched your
website, you have a powerful marketing tool for your
business. But, your website is only as useful as the content
is current. The process of keeping the content on your site
current is called website maintenance, and it's important to
keep both visitors and search engines supplied with new
information. Just like regular maintenance on your car, you
have to make changes on your website every few months to
make sure that things run smoothly.
If you update the content on your website on a regular
basis, potential clients will be drawn back to your site to
find out "what's new". The search engines pay visits to
websites in their queue regularly. The catch is that you'll
stay in the queue only if you update your site regularly. If
the search engines visit your site several times in a row,
and don't find anything new, they may decide not to come
back-which can be a blow to your search engine rankings.
So, when is it appropriate to update your website? You don't
want to waste time and money nitpicking at your site if you
don't have updates of real value to add. You should update
your site if you've:
- Grown your skills. Have you gotten a new accreditation?
New licensing? Improved your skills? Any change in your
skill set is a great reason to update your website-and your
potential clients-with your new capabilities.
- Expanded your products or services. Do you have a new
offering? Add it to your website and start making new sales
in that area.
- Completed a successful project. If you've just finished a
project, include it on your website. Create an online
portfolio, add a case study-build a section on your website
to use as a place to show the world your success.
- Gotten more testimonials, or added to your client list.
Including more feedback on your offering helps to build your
credibility. Be sure to get a testimonial from each of your
successful client projects. Updating your testimonials
regularly will also show clients who have visited your site
a few times that your offerings are "up to snuff".
- Written an article. Writing articles is a great way to
keep your website up-to-date and to put more content on your
site. Search engines love content-rich sites, and visitors
will love to see the new information. So, if you write
articles to educate your clients and promote your business,
be sure to place them on your website as well. They're
likely to be full of keywords related to your area of
specialty, which will help your ranking in the search
- Press releases. You should post all press releases and
other information you publish about your company to your
website. You never know who may be visiting, and you may get
written up for your accomplishments.
- Changes in your business. Have you hired someone? Changed
your business structure, and you're now required to notify
the public of that? If so, you should probably review your
website and evaluate how you can add that information.
- Yearly check-ups. You should do a basic check on your site
at least once a year, to make sure that the content is
current. Some things to check on include:
- Your copyright statements should be updated yearly
- Test and validate your links, to ensure that they still
- Your time references should be changed. If your "About"
page says how many years you've been in business, this is
the time to change that!
- Your pricing and offerings-do you have new products or
services? Have your prices increased over the past year?
Spotlight any major updates on your home page as well, so
that people will learn of those updates as soon as they
enter your site. The search engines will also discover the
new update as soon as they enter your home page if you leave
a bit of information, with a link to the full story, on the
home page. That will act as a breadcrumb for the engine to
follow-the engines will follow your link to learn more about
Any of these reasons, and dozens of others, are great
reasons to make changes to your site. If you make keeping
your website current a priority, it will pay off with better
search engine rankings and increased sales and leads through
Once you've decided to make your changes, the next choice is
how to go about doing that. There are two steps involved in
maintaining your site:
1. First, decide whether you prefer to edit your content on
paper or online. This can be done in a couple of ways. You
can start by printing the pages that have outdated
information and then updating that information on paper
first. Or, you can copy and paste the outdated content from
your website into a word processing program such as
Microsoft Word and then edit that file on your computer.
2. After you have updated your text content you can choose
either to make the changes yourself or to hire a web
designer to make the changes. There are several tools that
you can use to make changes to your site yourself. We
recommend an easy-to-use tool called Macromedia Contribute.
It's fairly inexpensive, its simple to set up and learn, and
it allows you to back up to older versions of your site if
you make mistakes.
We suggest that you use this tool to make only simple text
changes. More complicated changes-for example, to the
overall design or navigation-are more difficult to make, and
having a professional make those changes will save you
energy and frustration.
If you are comfortable with a more complicated software
program, then we recommend a professional-grade tool such as
Dreamweaver. With a better software package, you'll be able
to make some of the more complicated changes yourself.
By building more-and more current-information into your
website, you will also begin to build trust with your
potential clients, since they will have a snapshot of what's
currently happening in your business and available to them.
Your website can go a long way towards making sure that your
online prospects know, like, and trust you-which can lead to
more sales from your website.
About the Author
Erin Ferree is a brand identity designer who creates big
visibility for small businesses. Her workbook, "Design a
Website That Works", will walk you through all of the
questions that you need to answer in order to create the
best possible website.
We make new companies appear more established and established companies to shine above their competition!