Is it important to periodically update your website? Why do websites occasionally hold maintenance on their sites? Long story short - your website needs TLC, just like everything else.
This article came about because I am currently in the process of talking to my clients about time allocation to update and provide maintenance on the websites we have built for them. I know that once your website is up and running, it's easy to leave it there and forget it exists - until there is a serious problem.
Your website is like a digital house plant which needs watering and looking after - without updates, it will shrivel up. Not only does your website provide you with a digital shop front, but it also helps you get discovered on Google and stand out against competitors. Google is a clever system which prioritises websites which are updated and maintained regularly - for a number of reasons.
Google serves to provide the browser with the best user experience and it will crawl websites to check they are following best practices. If you don't update your website, there may be plug ins and apps which have become out of date and are no longer working properly. You may have made a number of changes resulting in spelling mistakes or broken links to pages which no longer exist. Your contact forms could be broken or bugged which means your user is getting frustrated and you're losing business. Google crawlers know all this, and they will rank your website lower in search results.
Even if we step away from Google and its structure, let's think about your customers. As a business you are always evolving and updating: email addresses, downloads, content, services, shopping items... If your website is out of date and not functioning properly, your users are going to be very frustrated when they can't quickly and easily enquire of buy from you. So they leave.
There are a number of things to look at when updating and maintaining your website:
Install updates. Especially if you use platforms like Wordpress, you need to ensure your updates are, well up to date! Otherwise you expose yourself to hackers and viruses, as well as slow running apps.
Monitor comments. Spam comments always happen - and they're not welcome. They are used to link back to other sites which have no relevance to you and they're not pleasing on the eye. You can either install plug ins to help avoid this, or monitor the comments yourself.
Review your page speed, broken links, and outdated pages. Ask your digital media manager to help you run a check on your website to ensure it's performing well by Google standards. Slow speed, and pages which don't exist can jeopardise your hard word on SEO!
Update your content. Install a blog roll and keep it up to date. If your last post was dated back to 2016, the likelihood will be that your customer thinks your services may also be a little out of date or you're no longer in business. But it's not just blogs you need to update: text, emails, forms, company information, and any promotions you have also need to be taken into account.
So, as you can see there is a little bit of time which needs to be spent updating your website regularly - and of course this also depends how big your website is. But it's so important to do this because this is how we 'water and nourish' our websites and give it the love they need. This work often goes on behind the scenes so your website won't look drastically different, but trust me underneath the branding and the imagery your websites bones will be healthy and strong. By updating and maintaining your website regularly, you won't run into big problems which could be costing you business - like finding out your contact form was linked to an old email address which no longer exists! Nightmare.
And I get it - you're a busy business owner. You hardly get the time to complete your tasks throughout the day, let alone focus on something that can be dull and time consuming. Especially if you have no idea how to maintain a website. Which is why I can offer you help and assistance in ensuring your website is growing and blossoming online.