Having a website without updating it frequently (twice a week at best) is like buying a Playstation 4 and using it exclusively for playing Michael Buble CDs. In other words, you’re seriously underutilising what could otherwise be an extremely powerful system.
Or, if you’re not into Michael Buble, think of it as like waking up early. If you want to have a productive day and generally do a better job than your competitors, you’ll probably take no chances.
Well, the good news is, the best insurance is usually the easiest. What I mean is, quantity is never better than quality, but sometimes it deserves equal respect. Being a super insane zen-powered turbo-genius is difficult. I’m not one of them, so I’m not sure – but I can tell you, that if you’re not a genius, then you better make up for it with consistency and determination.
And the currency of determination on the internet is, regular content and frequent updates. Even if you are a genius, the rule stays the same: you should Always Be Updating.
The problem goes deeper than that. In this day and age, a website is essentially fighting for the attention of the viewers, against a thousand of your competitors, whether those competitors are explicit or implicit. The big advantage you can have is to be able to keep your website ahead of the search engine game. You can hedge your bets on the quality of your content, the appeal to your audience, or the ‘stick’ factor of your site, but nothing beats the strategic advantage of keeping your website updated regularly.
Websites are not static things. In fact, many sites fail to keep up in the Web-based rat race because they are treated like idle billboards, set aside and never touched again.
However, that reality is changing fast. The internet is a highly dynamic, ever-changing landscape that webmasters everywhere need to adapt to.
So to avoid being left behind, consider these reasons why your site should adopt a constant improvement strategy, and how you can begin implementing this into your business plan.
Crawlers will love frequently updated sites
Ever heard of web crawlers? They are little programs spewed out by search engines to analyse sites and index them based off their content. Think of them as little worker bees in a hive. The hive is Google. The flower is like your website.
If your website is updated roughly twice a week with sweet nectary content, the crawlers will recognise your site as ‘frequently updated’ and you’ll have more content to be indexed.
However, you don’t want to update just for the sake of the crawlers. If you unnecessarily change text or make other useless changes, the algorithms will recognise this and punish your ranking. Instead, take this as an opportunity to actively find fun new creative ways of keeping your site fresh. Just consider…
Browsing Habits Are Constantly Changing
No, by browsing habits, I don’t mean the things we look up. I mean the way we look it up.
If the 21st century has taught us anything, it’s that everything is constantly changing all the time – and that includes your audience’s browsing habits. With constant changes to the way we use social media, we are seeing this affect our treatment of websites.
As a result, we need to start changing our pages. If it’s true that attention spans are getting shorter, or that it’s more and more important to have a video on your homepage, then it’s time to start thinking about what trendy new changes you can implement into your own page.
Remember, you don’t have to follow all the latest trends, just as you don’t have to use every popular hashtag. But keeping an ear open for trends is a fun, yet essential way of keeping yourself relevant.
However, something a bit more daunting is competitors, so we need to consider the role they play in the ranking race:
Give your site the competitive edge
There is a great article on E-commerce sites that are setting new standards for online shopping. This is the kind of stuff we will read at Creative Cog because, if somebody comes to us looking to start an online store, we want to be thinking ahead.
The truth is, there’s always a brilliant new way to use a website to sell a product, spread a message or tell a story, but with the onset of business social media, which is just a few empty fields and clicks away, the ingenuity of creating an experience is lost.
There’s an old salesman proverb that goes something like this: ‘your pitch only needs to be 1% better than the competitor’s pitch, in order to make the sale.’ So instead of overwhelming yourself with plans to drastically change your site, just think of how you can make your site 1% better, easier, friendlier or more intuitive than your competitors. Really, that’s all the advantage you need.
Often the greatest ideas aren’t found on a blog post or article, rather, through the insights your competitors are generating, ready for you to discover if you’re willing to do a bit of searching.
And speaking of searching…
Update your site, stay hot on the keyword market
Keywords come and go, according to the whatever is trending in the subject. A hot topic in your industry 2 years ago might be irrelevant today. Likewise, a huge keyword might be just around the corner ready for you to capitalise on, allowing you to winwin the keyword game.
Your website is the perfect place to test the waters with a range of popular keywords as see what kind of traffic it generates. That being said, the same rules apply: don’t add keywords just for their own sake. Ensure that every keyword is not just trending, but relevant to your industry.
But keywords are only one small fragment of a much bigger picture that you need to understand…
The meaning of SEO
What is SEO? It’s not this ‘thing’ with a set of rules you have to follow. Rather, it’s the not-so-simple act of optimising your content so it can be picked up by search engines.
But here’s the catch: search engines change, and as do searching habits and popular keywords. Your site needs to be ready to adjust and adapt to these changes, and if not, then your site will fall into a state of irrelevance. The key is to understand how all these other elements of creating a relevant, engaging website fit into your overall plan for building a high-ranking website.
We all agree that you don’t want to be irrelevant, whether that be in your website rankings or in your position as a thought leader. So keep in mind…
Become an industry authority
One of the biggest benefits of keeping a website updated and active, is also one of the hardest to communicate: thought leadership.
You don’t hear this mentioned by traffic and marketing experts, because it’s an ambitious subject that doesn’t produce long term effects. As web designers, we’re in the business of generating leads for you. What you choose to do with them after that is your choice. We don’t like to make big promises that we can’t live up to, so we usually don’t mention that your potential with a website is to become a thought leader.
As a thought leader, it’s your job to pioneer the latest and greatest knowledge within your industry. And the best way to do this is to keep your website up to date with that information. If some disruptive new technology or idea emerges within your industry, don’t let your website sit back.
And finally before you go, just remember:
Social Media is your research tool
The beauty of social media is how it demonstrates that you, as a business, are living, breathing and active. When you can effectively link your site to social media, not just through clickable icons, but through live streams of news feeds, then your website becomes less stagnant. Every time you join a new social network, you have the chance to find a way of implementing this creatively into your site.
After all, social media acts as a window into your audience in a way your website doesn’t, When you keep an eye open for engaging this audience, you can find ways of translating this audience into your website more effectively.
Use social media in conjunction with the latest insights and analysis, and you can build yourself a website that is consistently relevant, engaging and attractive to search engines.