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Updating Your Website's Content

One question that often plagues new website owners, is the question of how often should they update their websites content. Considering the amount of websites with out of date and old information permeating the Internet one might wonder if it is even necessary.

Unless your site’s design is in desperate need of attention for repairs or is severally outdated, it is best to implement massive design or structural changes in a more incremental fashion. These updates to the site should be based upon solid testing and user data/feedback and not be taken lightly. In this article, updating the website refers to changes only to the textual content, images, or information that is displayed on page and not to the physical layout of the site.

With the advent of increasingly user-friendly Content Management Systems (CMS) over the last few years, the process of managing and updating the content on your website has become a much less burdensome task for webmasters and site owners alike. The ability to add, edit or delete pages using popular CMS’s such as Joomla, 3dCart, Drupal & Wordpress without the need for an external webmaster is not only desirable, but a logistical and financial necessity.

The first place to start should always be with an extensive site content audit to determine which pages are driving traffic and which ones are not. Decide which pages are outdated or need to be removed completely, or if the page is valuable content and should remain as part of an archived library. Some pages may only need to be reviewed an edited. If you decide to update an existing page you should strongly consider using a living URL approach as discussed here.

Google’s mantra has consistently been that “content is king” and in light of recent algorithm updates, has taken drastic steps that help ensure that site owners are producing valuable, quality original content for their visitors.

Perhaps the biggest consideration you will be faced with is how often to update, and what you should actually write about. The short answer is that you should update your content on a regular, consistent basis; specifically when you have something new to add or worth talking about. How often you add content depends upon the industry you are in and your particular situation or business. Some industries are more eventful than others and have more to discuss, whereas others can be quite static. Sometimes content almost writes itself and can be generated easily based upon the products or services you offer.

Often when people are confronted with the task of developing content for their website they are daunted and filled with indecision as how to start. Following some basic guidelines, will not only help you to produce quality content that is relevant, but will help you rank well in Google as well.

Try to provide useful and succinct content for exactly what a visitor will need to know, or might want to know when visiting your site, or before making a purchase. Content can be created for customers searching for product specifications, features, product reviews, general information, shipping/ordering information, pricing/availability of products, or industry news and events. Some of these topics are much more dynamic than others and will be much easier to generate new content for than others. There is no definitive answer to how often you should be updating your content. A general rule of thumb is to update your company’s blog (you do have one right?) at least once per week.

Try to add one or two new pages per week if possible. At the very least you should consider at least one or two new, fresh pages every month. Ensure that your updates are spread out somewhat and do not occur too closely together. This is important to keep the search engine bots closely attenuated to the updates occurring on your site. One page per week for four weeks in a row is much better than four pages one week followed by three weeks of inactivity.

After adding your new content it is important to let your visitors and search engines know about it. If your business engages in outbound marketing, such as an email newsletter, be sure to include links to your new content. Clicks that are tracked from Google through Gmail, or toolbar/user generated data are of very high value and should not be underestimated.

If your new pages end up being buried several layers deep, or are otherwise lost in your site’s hierarchy, it is of paramount importance that you shorten the distance from the homepage. Putting links to your newest content on your homepage ensures that it will be found quickly by your visitors and search engines. It is also important to update your HTML and XML sitemap to include newer pages. You can find various software plugins or programming to do this for you.

Some key points to consider when developing new content is to remember to create your sites content for your visitors. Providing well written copy will help to spread your business’s message products and services and will lead to more conversions of visitors in to customers. Make a practice of migrating away from flat files or includes and make use of a CMS that makes it easier to add new content to your site. Try to add content that is useful and has terms that searchers are using. Avoid industry jargon if it’s being used as a search term.

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