Why a website is never finished – Part 1

March 26, 2018

Once their website has been launched, many businesses make the mistake of viewing it as ‘finished’. At best, they might make some occasional factual updates. In this post, I’ll explain why you should make a regular commitment to updating your website content.

Website owners are often disappointed to drop down the search results over time. This doesn’t need to happen – in fact, search engines give added importance to websites that have been established for a while, as this suggests they are more reputable. (This is why we register our clients’ domain name as soon as they give the go-ahead on a project, even if work isn’t due to start straight away.) However, you won’t convince the search engines that your site is important unless they can see that the content is fresh and up to date.

Search engines have always favoured websites that are updated regularly, and Google has recently changed its search algorithms to give even greater priority to such websites. Since search bots are automated, the best way for them to tell which websites are the most current is to look at when they were last updated. This means that all website owners will benefit from making regular changes – even if the content is still factually correct.

All our sites are built using WordPress, which comes with a built-in content management system (CMS). This means that anyone can update their website themselves, with little or no technical expertise. Basically, if you can use email or MS Word then you can update your website. All it takes is a couple of hours a month.

But it’s often easier said than done. You may have put time aside to get your website set up in the first place, but it’s much harder to prioritise making regular updates. If you're racking your brains to think of ways to keep your website content fresh, here are some tips:

Read your website

Book in a regular time slot to read through some or all of the content of your website. Even better, get someone else to read through some pages for you and make suggestions on how the content can be improved. This is a great opportunity to check the factual information is still correct, which has a nasty habit of getting out of date the minute your back is turned! You'll be surprised how quickly things change, or what little errors you might have missed last time.

Write a blog

Adding a blog to your website is a great way to add regular content that search engines love. It also helps your customers get to know you by adding a personal touch to your website. WordPress was built as a blogging tool so there are lots of built-in options to make it as easy as possible.

You can write about whatever you want - your views on any issues facing your industry; advice and tips for your customers; or even a regular diary of what's been happening in your business.

Add an RSS feed and social media links to encourage people to follow your blog. Make a habit of adding posts regularly to keep your customers - and the search engines - coming back for more.

Latest news and events

Most websites will benefit from a latest news section, containing regular updates from your company. Another option is to add an upcoming events section.

The best way to achieve this is via the 'Posts' feature in WordPress. Simply create a category for your latest news or events posts, add it to your website navigation and you're ready to go!

Add extra content with widgets

If you're adding regular posts to your website, you can automatically add new content to your other web pages using Widgets. WordPress has loads of useful sidebar widgets that pull content from your posts - there are widgets to list your recent posts, post archives, recent comments and more. As well as adding content across your website, these are great for driving traffic to your blog or news page.

A picture tells a thousand words. Illustrate what you do by adding regular pictures to a gallery - whether this is a portfolio of your recent work (if you do something visual) or pictures of your staff and premises. There are plenty of free image gallery plugins available in WordPress.

And if you really can't be bothered

It's a fact of life that some people just never get round to updating their website. If you're in this group then it might be worth getting someone to do it for you. We offer 'pay as you go' website updates or pre-paid maintenance contracts and retainers, so contact us for a chat about the options.

6 Comments

  1. Katie
    July 3, 2013 Reply

    Hi Heatblizzard, thanks for your comments.

    Sorry our website won't let you add spacing between paragraphs, we use the comments feature that is built into WordPress.

    You have some really good ideas. I think the principle is that website owners should think about their website from their customers' point of view. User testing helps with this but a bit of common sense doesn't hurt either! As you say, some pizza places have so little information that you can't make a decision on whether to go, whereas a virtual tour would help people to visualise exactly what it's like. By using the latest WordPress plugins (e.g. PanoPress - https://wordpress.org/plugins/panopress/), things like 360 degree tours don't even have to be expensive to implement these days.

    We used to market Barn2 Media by contacting companies with websites that were obviously terrible and offering them a professionally designed, modern website (although we worded it more tactfully than that!). Not many people went ahead as they didn't believe their websites weren't good enough. I think that once someone has spent time and/or money on a website - even if it was a few years ago - they often don't want to accept that it needs doing again or that things have moved on since then. Of course having an impressive business is highly likely to bring in more business than the money it costs in the first place, but that's not always how people think.

    • Katie
      July 3, 2013 Reply

      (Also Heatblizzard - in case it's useful to you when commenting on other WordPress websites, you can add paragraphs to comments by using HTML. Not particularly user-friendly as not everyone knows how to use HTML, but if you put

      at the start of each paragraph and

      at the end of each paragraph then it will add the breaks for you.)

  2. Heatblizzard
    June 15, 2013 Reply

    In the late 90s I can see this being an impossible feat but we have way more powerful computers and all businesses need to do is invest. As that one commercial goes. "Save you're nickles,save you're dimes.

    I am putting it in two posts because my one at the bottom won't show my paragraphs at all! :( At least this isn't Disqus. Ewwwwwwww!

  3. Heatblizzard
    June 15, 2013 Reply

    For some reason it doesn't show my spacing of paragraphs.

    Many websites should have a small virtual tour of their store or restaurant so people can see if they want to go there or not in real life. They can check out the decor and some of the services offered before wasting gas and time. That way businesses can attract more relevant customers who will come back time and time again.

  4. Heatblizzard
    June 15, 2013 Reply

    I've notice many businesses both large and small have very basic websites and in small businesses incomplete.

    One pizza place I was looking at had only their menu and the other parts like *About* *Location*.etc have a big COMING SOON!...........................I'd believe it if it were not for the copyright being 2008.

    Many websites should have a small virtual tour of their store or restaurant so people can see if they want to go there or not in real life. They can check out the decor and some of the services offered before wasting gas and time.

    That way businesses can attract more relevant customers who will come back time and time again.

    In the late 90s I can see this being an impossible feat but we have way more powerful computers and all businesses need to do is invest.

    As that one commercial goes. "Save you're nickles,save you're dimes"

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