You may think that once you’ve got your website up and running that’s it finished. However, that’s just the beginning. For a small business, website maintenance is essential; if you want anyone to visit your website keeping it fresh and up to date is just as important as setting it up in the first place. The benefits of website maintenance for small businesses are many and in this blog we look at some of the main areas to consider.
If prospects visit your site and it is obvious that it hasn’t been updated in months they are likely to assume that you haven’t done much work recently or worse still, are no longer trading. Keeping your website current shows people that you are busy and evolving and helps to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Following on from that, search engines consistently re-index web pages, and sites that have new content are deemed more relevant than those without. The sites that are constantly refreshed are placed higher in search result rankings.
The more dynamic your website’s content, the more likely people are to visit it, read it and share the content with others (known inbound links). This could be through social media, or perhaps linking to your site from their blog or their own website, and this all helps to drive traffic.
Regular, effective website maintenance is therefore essential to make sure everything is working as it should. Broken links and missing pages for example can be frustrating for visitors to your site. Additionally new browser versions may dictate that you need to update your website to run smoothly on them, and adding new technologies that are released may be useful to improve a visitor’s browsing experience.
So what can you do to keep your content fresh? Here are 10 quick website maintenance tips:
1. Include a blog
A blog is a great way to add new content regularly and relatively quickly. They are often based upon personal musings or opinions, for example you can talk about your industry, post customer reviews of products, comment on news items etc. Blogs are also great for positioning your organisation as an industry voice.
2. Add a ‘Meet the Team’ page
Once you’ve added it make sure you update it regularly as people join or leave the company. Include a short profile for each team member telling people about their background, role and hobbies for example. You might even want to consider a page for each of the more senior members of staff.
3. Have a photo/video gallery
Your gallery may be of recently completed projects, product images, events etc. Remember to add a description to your images because search engines don’t index photos or videos.
4. Highlight customer testimonials
This gives you the opportunity to keep updating with new content and is a really useful way for visitors to get a feel for you as a company and your products or services. You could create this page to allow customers to post their own reviews (with moderation settings) to keep it dynamic.
5. Promote special offers or sales
Sales and promotions are great ways to keep people interested, and because they are time limited you will have to amend them once the promotion is finished. (Emailing your database about your sale or promotion can also help to generate visits to your website.)
6. Include a company news section
This needs to be able to be regularly updated but doesn’t have to be restricted to big announcements. The news section could introduce a new staff member, say goodbye to someone who is leaving, promote you winning your latest contract, charity events, new product launches – anything that may be of interest to your website visitors.
7. Create a ‘Further Resources’ page
This can include useful industry websites, links to industry statistics and other research. These are a great way to get inbound links.
8. Post your newsletters online
If you send out a customer newsletter, consider posting them online a week or so after you have sent them out. You could release an article a week to extend this new material.
9. Run a poll
Install a widget that allows you to run a simple poll – for example asking people to rate the qualities they value most in a supplier – and have the results displayed and updated in real time. When the poll is finished, the full results can then be turned in to a news item or blog post.
10. Add a ‘Hints and Tips’ section
Share ‘how to’ tips and videos for your products and invite customers to submit their own.
Your website is one of your most important marketing tools and whilst maintaining it needn’t take days each month, it can’t be ignored either. It should be a resource for your existing customers and a first touch point for new prospects. As such your site needs to make a good first impression but if your site lacks freshness search engines won’t rank it and people won’t find you.
We hope you found our blog on the benefits of website maintenance useful. If you’re short on time and need help with website management and maintenance or would like to know more about our virtual business assistant services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.