So why your website shouldn’t do the same.

So you’ve just spent several weeks planning, creating and
building your new website, time to sit back and relax, right? Wrong! Creating a
website is just the start and will now involve continuous investment in order
to fulfil its purpose and generate consistent traffic to your site.

The internet is a constant growing and evolving media
platform that generates and replaces information on a daily basis, and there is
no reason why your website shouldn’t do the same. According to Internet Live Stats there are 1,316,255,260
(and counting)
websites online right now and that number is increasing by the second. While
the initial set up of a website is a crucial stage in generating leads and
traffic to your company, the continuous maintenance and updating is where your
website will shine, boosting SEO and user interactivity.

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There are a number of actions that can be carried out regularly
to keep your website up-to-date for SEO and improve the experience for the end
user. Websites quickly lose value when they are left unattended and this can
have a huge impact on sales, traffic and returning visitors. Not only this, but
search engines love updated sites and the more up-to-date information you can add
to your website, the higher it will rank. It’s important that your site
contains relevant titles and quality key words so that google can attribute it
at a higher score. An easy comparison is to imagine your website is a garden,
you spend days planting this years’ flowers and then constant maintenance,
watering and pruning gives you a beautiful garden all summer long, do the same
with your website, and you’ll have constant traffic, returning visitors and
high rankings on search engines that will help keep your website way above your
competitors.

Here are our top tips for maintaining and an up-to-date, SEO
friendly website:

 

Create a site that is
easily updated

If your website is still dependant on a developer to make
any changes or updates, we highly recommend looking to switch your website to a
content management system (we use WordPress). Moving your website over to a
content management system quickly gives you the ability to update your own
content without paying for, or waiting for a developer to do it for you,
essentially, it cuts out the middle man. While this may seem daunting to some,
CMS sites like WordPress have thousands of guides to help you along the way,
and once the initial website is online, changes can be made easily – literally
at the click of a button!

 

Security is important

The importance of website security is regularly overlooked
when it comes to business’ trying to keep their site up-to-date, when in fact,
it is one of, if not the most important update you can do to your website. It
is important to keep abreast of updates as things change, as security exploits
can come up in all areas, from the operating system, through to changes in
end-user devices – it really is a never ending task! Alongside this, an
unpatched security vulnerability could lead to your website being hacked which
can then lead to legal repercussions if personal data is stolen, so it is
important to make sure that all security plugins and updates are in place.

 

Add a blog and keep
it updated

If your website doesn’t currently have a blog, we highly
recommend incorporating one into your site. A blog enables you to write
up-to-date articles on topics of your choice that you think will directly
impact your readers. It also shows visitors that your website is still current,
up-to-date and regularly maintained showing your commitment to your company.
Not only this, but if you include the correct key words, blog posts can help
raise your profile in search engines, in turn driving more visitors to your
site. Lacking ideas? Why not write a review of a product or service that you
think will be beneficial to your visitors, or carry out an interview with
someone your readers would find interesting? Even better, record the interview
and upload it to your website in both written and digital format offering visitors
more variety in how they access your information. Another way to boost
readership of your blog is to repurpose content into infographics, social media
posts and email blasts so that it covers all forms of communication with your
readers.

 

Use your ‘reader’s
eye’

One of the easiest ways to check the user experience of your
website is to visit, read and interact with your site as though you were an
outsider. Is anything outdated? Is anything not functioning correctly? What
questions do you have about the site and the company? When was the last time
the site was updated? Once you’ve done a complete search of the website in all its
forms (desktop, mobile, tablet) it’s time to answer all the questions raised –
if you thought it, chances are your visitors have as well. If you don’t have
time to conduct the search yourself, there are websites which will conduct the
search for you, just be sure it checks responsivity for all platforms as you
want your website to run at its best on as many platforms as possible. If
you’re stuck for ways to update your website, visit other sites in the industry
for inspiration, picking up on aspects they have used and adding your own
adaption and ideas to best suit your company and readers. Customers tend to
shop around and will visit competitor sites so it is important that your website
outshines the rest in terms of content, design and functionality.

 

Bring your website to
life

A great way to brighten up your website is through the use
of the images and videos, however it’s important to make sure they are search engine friendly, of high quality and relevant to your
content and visitors. Videos are a great way to update content and track
user interactivity, so why not offer training videos or product demonstrations
to your website which will also help improve versatility and can be shared
across social media platforms.

 

Design trends

It is important that the initial design chosen for your
website is current, eye-catching and follows trending website templates. While
the history of web design is one of constant change there are key features that
reoccur year after year which you should incorporate into your website. If your
site looks old or dated, then visitors may assume that the products and
services match, or worse, you’re no longer an operating business, so while you
may not think design is of that importance, it can really have a make or break
effect on those visiting your website. Another important aspect to your website
is its loading speed. There are websites you can access that register just how
quickly your website processes information and loads on different platforms
which can be key to maintaining visitors on your site.

 

Make sure all areas
are updated, not just your blog

As we pointed out before, blog posts can be crucial in
raising SEO and generating visitors to your website, however it is important
that this is not the only area of your website that is regularly updated.
Topics covered in your website will change over time and it is important that
the information provided on your site reflects this. For example, if you have a
guide that was created in 2012 that is still relevant today, it is best to read
over the guide, update it where possible and re-upload it to your site,
referencing the updates so that your readers know your content is up to date. This
also applies for all content listed on your website. Staff changed? New
services to offer? Make sure your website is up-to-date on all that is
happening at your company. Also, try and keep testimonials as up-to-date as
possible, don’t be afraid to ask for and encourage them, and remember to add
them to your website – they can have a huge impact on potential customers.

                Another
great way to show visitors that your website is current is through the use of
social media. Regular social media posts are a great way to interact with your
visitors and make them aware of your online presence. Not enough time? Try a
tool like hootsuite and schedule your posts for the upcoming month in one go!

An easy part of your website to
miss when checking for updated content is the site’s functionality. Plugins and
themes will need updating to run smoothly and protect the user from issues and
potential scams. It’s also easy for aspects of your site to disappear so it’s
worth doing a monthly audit on your website to ensure all plugins, forms and
links are still working correctly.

 

Legal Requirements

It’s easy to let things slip but one thing you need to stay
on top of are the ever changing legal requirements. The law is constantly
changing and evolving and as a business, you are a required to conform to these
changes or face legal action. Accessibility, selling online, data protection,
PCI compliance and tax rule changes are just some of the legal requirements
that could apply to your business and it is important that you update all
relevant information like FAQ’s and Privacy Policy to avoid confusion or
support issues with your visitors.

 

Wondering what to do
first?

The best thing to do is to set yourself a target. Think
logically based on your user’s needs, requirements and desires and what it is
you, as a company, is wanting to gather from your website. Once you have
decided on this, create a plan. Are you going to blog once a week or once a
month? How often do you plan to post on social media? If you plan in advance,
the workload becomes a lot more manageable. If there are several staff members
in the company, why not share the workload and plan ahead for blog posts?
Varying the authors of your blog posts will add character to your company and
can help users feel more connected to who you are.

 

A fresh website and updated content results in better search
engine rankings, increasing traffic, repeat visitors and many other benefits!

 

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