by Jessica Freeman
The great part about a website is that you can tweak and add content whenever you need. Unlike printed materials, you can add services and change prices when you need to, without any cost (unless you pay someone to make those changes). Unfortunately, too many business owners get their website set-up, and then quickly forget it. Three years later, they realize that services have changed, employees have changed — and so much of their website is out of date.
When your website is out of date, it can be a frustrating experience for both you and your customers. While I don’t advise a complete re-design of your website every three months, keeping it up-to-date is a crucial task that every business owner needs to consider.
Here’s a checklist of what you should maintain on your own website:
– Update any blog posts or events that are outdated. Some people may not post blogs, but they will post a link to their monthly newsletter — always make sure this link is the most recent version. If you have an Events page on your website, take down old events, or move them to an archive page. If your next event is two months away, don’t just leave up the last event as a placeholder. This can look like you’re not updating information! Instead, allow them to subscribe to your email list for updates on new events in the future.
– Update plug-ins and themes to ensure that you are using the most recent, secure version. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll often see those little notification bubbles in your sidebar. These notifications should not be ignored! Updating plug-ins and themes keeps your website secure. Usually these updates are new functionalities or bug fixes, but there are times where it’s a security patch that is included in the update.
– Back up your website! If something were to happen to your website or server, your wouldn’t want to lose everything.
– Add testimonials and recognitions. Social proof is so important to feature on your website! It can be a great way to gain more clients, so don’t forget to update these items a few times a year. Every time you finish up with a client, send them a feedback form, and ask them if you can share their testimonial on your website and social media. Sharing reviews and awards on social media can also help catch attention of quiet followers, and drive them to your website. I cover the importance of this in my free email course.
– Check pricing and services. It’s not uncommon for business owners to adjust pricing and services every so often. You may have forgotten to update package details, or new services. Don’t frustrate your customers by listing one price online, and another price once they contact you.
– Refresh your content. I’m not advocating for a yearly website re-design, but sometimes it can be good to just update some banner images, take a look at your copy with some fresh eyes. Your goals may change from year to year, which will affect your website as well. If you were product-focused last year, and this year you’re focused on building your email list, you’ll need to tweak your website. It may even be wise to have a web designer do an audit just once a year.
– Submit your site to Google! If you’ve updated information across your website, submit your site to Google’s index so it’s current.
These tasks can seem a little tedious, but I promise that it’s all worth it. Your website should be able to do all the hard work for you — bringing in new clients and subscribers! If you don’t feel like it is, have a professional look at your site and provide feedback. Often, it’s just tweaks to your website that are needed, not an entirely new website.
Jessica Freeman, award-winning designer and owner of Jess Creatives, works with service-based entrepreneurs to create stunning brands and websites that shine. Jess lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Aaron, and their puppy, Morgan.