So… you’ve gotten a website because everyone says you should. You’ve hired a website designer and bought a great-sounding domain name that suits your business.
If you’re a blogger, you should already be updating your blog on a regular basis; so this article is not going to apply to you. This article is to remind business owners who own static websites that probably have not seen an update since the day it was launched.
What is a static website? A static website is a website which has permanent content that is not updated regularly. Chances are, static websites are usually HTML files that have the content coded directly into them, so any changes must be made within the HTML files. However, there are some websites which look static, but are built using Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or Concrete5; they can be updated, but just aren’t being updated.
Many businesses nowadays own a website, because they know that it is a smart move in this digital age. You need to turn up on search engine sites, or no one is going to know you exist. But many businesses own websites that are too static. Most business owners would have hired the website designer to build the website, set up the email system, and then left the website as-is. They figured that just having a website should be sufficient.
However, that’s not the point of having a website. You build a website to drive extra traffic to your business. You use the Internet to get more clients to your doorstep. If your website is not bringing in extra customers, it’s not doing its job.
What do we mean by updates? There are two areas of concern when it comes to updates: content updates, and technical updates.
What do we mean by content updates? Content refers to the words and images on the website. For example, bloggers are constantly updating their content by posting new blogposts.
You would normally only need constant content updates if there are news that you would constantly need to post. Some of the websites that would require constant content update would include news websites, personal blogs, e-commerce websites with shopping features, and business websites with new sales promotions.
You can consider adding a blog or newsfeed to your business website in order to have constant content updates; but for this to work, you have to have regular updates, even if it’s just once every few months.
But what if your business website doesn’t need a blog or newsfeed, and you don’t have any information that needs to be updated? You should still update your website anyway, by changing its look. You can have a minor change once a year with some images and text changed, or a major design overhaul every few years.
Here are 4 reasons why you should keep your business website’s contents updated:
- Your website stays looking fresh. If someone has visited your website before, chances are, they’re going to remember what your website looks like, even if it’s a vague memory. If your website hasn’t been changed in the last five years, a visitor is going to wonder why your website has not had any changes. Changing the occasional image or design makes it look like your website is constantly being updated, and it stays fresh in your visitor’s eye.
- Your business looks current. If your website has not been changed in five years, many people are going to wonder if your business is still in operation. Some won’t even contact a company with an outdated website because it looks as if the company has not made any investment in keeping itself updated with information and trends.
- Your website stays interesting. If your website has had some changes, it makes a visitor think that there will be some changes in other parts of your website, and may explore more of your website to see what other changes there are – and this makes the visitor get to know your business better.
- Your website SEO ranking improves. One of the factors that search engines like Google uses to rank websites are the frequency of updates. If your website has not been updated recently, its SEO ranking drops.
Your website was built using programming code; and like anything technical, code gets outdated too. Browsers are constantly getting new developments, and websites can have programs that make them more engaging and interesting for users to view.
If you opted for a simple website that does not need engaging content, you would still need to keep your website’s technical codes updated. Here are 3 reasons why.
- If the code is too old, some browsers may not be able to show the website correctly. Different web browsers have different ways of reading code; and even different versions of the same web browser can interpret the same codes differently. There is a universal standard on how codes should be interpreted, but this standard is only for the latest codes. Some programming codes are newly invented; and there are some which have been made obsolete. If your website has obsolete code, the website will not be displayed the way it was intended to.
- Old codes may be subject to Trojans or worms. This is especially true if your website is running on a content-management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Concrete5, or others. For CMS like WordPress, you may also have installed plugins to add functions to your website that the basic CMS does not have. The developers of these CMS and plugins are constantly working on making them more powerful, more stable, and safer to use, which is a great reason why you need to keep updating your CMS. But updating it is also about protecting your website. Some hackers work on finding a weakness in the CMS and/or plugins that are used by many websites, in order to take control over those websites and destroy the reputation of those businesses (or sometimes just for the fun of it). If you don’t keep your codes updated, your website may be subject to hackers who have found a loophole in the very same version of your CMS and/or plugins that your website is using. And if your website has Trojans or worms, search engines are going to block your website from visitors, hence blocking potential clients.
- Different times call for different codes. Like fashion, website designing also follows a certain trend. Experienced website designers can tell the approximate age of a website layout based on its look (or even if the website is new, they can tell what era that outdated programmer was basing the layout on). Similarly, programming code, even if it’s just HTML, has a certain trend, although the trend may stretch for a longer period of time than the aesthetic appearance. The reason for this is because with newer codes and functions, websites can do so much more; and when popular websites employ these methods, other website designers and developers who like the look and the code will imitate them for their own websites. For example, at one point in time, Flash was the coding type of choice to build entire websites; but when Google became popular, people started to switch to text-based websites for better search engine optimization (SEO) as Flash was not SEO-friendly. Another example is the layout coding used in HTML. Many years ago, website designers used to use “tables” to arrange items side by side in a website. Nowadays, no one uses tables anymore; “divs” are used instead for more effective layout management, which is far more mobile-friendly too.
So be sure to keep your website updated if you want your business to stay relevant!