“How often should we be updating our web site?”

It is a question we hear all the time.  While there is no easy answer to this question, there are some helpful guidelines you can follow.

We invite you to take this 3 question quiz to see if you are managing your site properly…

Question One

Has it been more than 3 years since your site was designed or overhauled?

A lot has changed in terms of usability, HTML/CSS and SEO since as recently as 3 years ago.  If your last major site design or overhaul was more than 3 years ago, chances are your site is out of date.  Some of the major changes are as follows…

  • Screen resolution norms

    According to most recent reports, the majority of users have a minimum resolution of 1026×768 but a lot of older sites were designed for an 800×600 resolution.  This means that these older sites are not making full use of the space available and on most of today’s monitors the site can appear to be small.  See our article on screen resolution.

  • SEO Standards

    In the last couple of years Search Engine Optimization standards have changed.  No longer are Meta Tags enough.  See our previous article on SEO for more on this.

  • Cascading Style Sheets

    These act as the electronic style guide that browsers use to display your site correctly.  Advances in CSS in the last couple of years have increased the speed in which a site loads, the usability of a site for people with disabilities as well as the overall look of the site.

Question Two

Have you updated your site’s content in the last week, month, year?

The overall “age” and effectiveness of your content is what most determines the success or failure of your web site.  If your site has not been updated for months or even years, you are not using this medium to its fullest potential.

With all of the tools at your disposal you should be able to make at least basic text updates to your site in house.  Here are some regular updates you could be making…

  • Press Releases

    Any updates regarding service offerings, hiring’s/promotions, awards, etc should be included in your site’s PR/News area.  These can include lots of great keywords and geo-terms which help with SEO.  They also are a way to keep people informed and engaged.  Check out ours.

  • Newsletters/Articles

    Do you publish a print newsletter or better yet an email newsletter?  If so, are you posting versions of these to your web site?  Like the press releases, these are also great ways to increase your keyword count while also offering yourself to your target audience as an online resource.

  • Blogs

    Beyond newsletters, blogs are quick and relatively inexpensive ways to easily post useful information on your web site.  The great thing about blogs is that they only really need to be about 250 – 500 words to be effective.  You can also set your blog up where people can subscribe and leave comments.  See the MANY blog posts we have written, all containing lots of tips AND keywords.

Question Three

Are you managing and tracking the effectiveness of your web site?

OK, so now you have determined whether or not your web site’s design is out of date and whether or not you are making enough updates to your site.  How do you know if these efforts are working for you?

There are techniques and tools that allow you to track the success of very specific elements of your site…

  • Landing Pages

    More and more we use “landing pages” for targeting and tracking activity for specific areas of a web site.  Think of a landing page as a home page for a specific topic, service, etc.  By creating landing pages you can more effectively drive qualified traffic to perform the action you most want them to take.

  • Google Analytics

    We implement Google Analytics in the code of most of the sites we build.  It is a free analysis tool that helps you track visitors, referring sites, search engines, keywords used, and much more. 

  • Call Tracking

    Sure you might be tracking your contact form inquiries, but what about the calls that come from people visiting your web site?  Some companies will use either dedicated phone lines or extensions and then track the calls versus the page views tracked in Google Analytics or their stats package.  Companies that rely on their web site as a lead generator should really consider doing something like this to evaluate the overall effectiveness of their web site.

Evaluate and Adjust – all the updates, redesigns and tracking in the world is incomplete without a solid plan to implement the necessary adjustments along the way.  A web site is never complete; it is a living breathing thing that needs constant attention and adjustment.

Based on your analysis and tracking, you should be able to judge what pages/areas are effective and which are not.  You can also track what keywords people are using and more importantly, not using, and then adjust your content based on that.  If you make the time to manage your web site effectively, you will see it grow as a powerful piece of your ongoing marketing efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about the marketing efforts mentioned above please contact us to setup a meeting and we will figure out the best approach for your business

Wood Street co-founder and partner, Jamie has more than 14 years experience designing web sites and interactive media. He served on the Greater Frederick Advertising Board for more than 4 years and has been a proud member and judge for the International Academy of the Visual Arts. His role has transitioned into Creative Director but he still uses his design skills and knowledge to create award winning web sites. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Frostburg State University with a minor in Art History.