So why your website shouldn’t do the same.

So you’ve just spent several weeks planning, creating andbuilding your new website, time to sit back and relax, right? Wrong! Creating awebsite is just the start and will now involve continuous investment in orderto fulfil its purpose and generate consistent traffic to your site.The internet is a constant growing and evolving mediaplatform that generates and replaces information on a daily basis, and there isno reason why your website shouldn’t do the same.

According to Internet Live Stats there are 1,316,255,260(and counting)websites online right now and that number is increasing by the second. Whilethe initial set up of a website is a crucial stage in generating leads andtraffic to your company, the continuous maintenance and updating is where yourwebsite will shine, boosting SEO and user interactivity.There are a number of actions that can be carried out regularlyto keep your website up-to-date for SEO and improve the experience for the enduser. Websites quickly lose value when they are left unattended and this canhave a huge impact on sales, traffic and returning visitors. Not only this, butsearch engines love updated sites and the more up-to-date information you can addto your website, the higher it will rank.

It’s important that your sitecontains relevant titles and quality key words so that google can attribute itat a higher score. An easy comparison is to imagine your website is a garden,you spend days planting this years’ flowers and then constant maintenance,watering and pruning gives you a beautiful garden all summer long, do the samewith your website, and you’ll have constant traffic, returning visitors andhigh rankings on search engines that will help keep your website way above yourcompetitors. Here are our top tips for maintaining and an up-to-date, SEOfriendly website: Create a site that iseasily updatedIf your website is still dependant on a developer to makeany changes or updates, we highly recommend looking to switch your website to acontent management system (we use WordPress). Moving your website over to acontent management system quickly gives you the ability to update your owncontent without paying for, or waiting for a developer to do it for you,essentially, it cuts out the middle man. While this may seem daunting to some,CMS sites like WordPress have thousands of guides to help you along the way,and once the initial website is online, changes can be made easily – literallyat the click of a button! Security is importantThe importance of website security is regularly overlookedwhen it comes to business’ trying to keep their site up-to-date, when in fact,it is one of, if not the most important update you can do to your website.

Itis important to keep abreast of updates as things change, as security exploitscan come up in all areas, from the operating system, through to changes inend-user devices – it really is a never ending task! Alongside this, anunpatched security vulnerability could lead to your website being hacked whichcan then lead to legal repercussions if personal data is stolen, so it isimportant to make sure that all security plugins and updates are in place.  Add a blog and keepit updatedIf your website doesn’t currently have a blog, we highlyrecommend incorporating one into your site. A blog enables you to writeup-to-date articles on topics of your choice that you think will directlyimpact your readers. It also shows visitors that your website is still current,up-to-date and regularly maintained showing your commitment to your company.

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Not only this, but if you include the correct key words, blog posts can helpraise your profile in search engines, in turn driving more visitors to yoursite. Lacking ideas? Why not write a review of a product or service that youthink will be beneficial to your visitors, or carry out an interview withsomeone your readers would find interesting? Even better, record the interviewand upload it to your website in both written and digital format offering visitorsmore variety in how they access your information. Another way to boostreadership of your blog is to repurpose content into infographics, social mediaposts and email blasts so that it covers all forms of communication with yourreaders. Use your ‘reader’seye’One of the easiest ways to check the user experience of yourwebsite is to visit, read and interact with your site as though you were anoutsider. Is anything outdated? Is anything not functioning correctly? Whatquestions do you have about the site and the company? When was the last timethe site was updated? Once you’ve done a complete search of the website in all itsforms (desktop, mobile, tablet) it’s time to answer all the questions raised –if you thought it, chances are your visitors have as well. If you don’t havetime to conduct the search yourself, there are websites which will conduct thesearch for you, just be sure it checks responsivity for all platforms as youwant your website to run at its best on as many platforms as possible. Ifyou’re stuck for ways to update your website, visit other sites in the industryfor inspiration, picking up on aspects they have used and adding your ownadaption and ideas to best suit your company and readers.

Customers tend toshop around and will visit competitor sites so it is important that your websiteoutshines the rest in terms of content, design and functionality. Bring your website tolifeA great way to brighten up your website is through the useof the images and videos, however it’s important to make sure they are search engine friendly, of high quality and relevant to yourcontent and visitors. Videos are a great way to update content and trackuser interactivity, so why not offer training videos or product demonstrationsto your website which will also help improve versatility and can be sharedacross social media platforms.  Design trendsIt is important that the initial design chosen for yourwebsite is current, eye-catching and follows trending website templates. Whilethe history of web design is one of constant change there are key features thatreoccur year after year which you should incorporate into your website.

If yoursite looks old or dated, then visitors may assume that the products andservices match, or worse, you’re no longer an operating business, so while youmay not think design is of that importance, it can really have a make or breakeffect on those visiting your website. Another important aspect to your websiteis its loading speed. There are websites you can access that register just howquickly your website processes information and loads on different platformswhich can be key to maintaining visitors on your site.  Make sure all areasare updated, not just your blogAs we pointed out before, blog posts can be crucial inraising SEO and generating visitors to your website, however it is importantthat this is not the only area of your website that is regularly updated.Topics covered in your website will change over time and it is important thatthe information provided on your site reflects this. For example, if you have aguide that was created in 2012 that is still relevant today, it is best to readover the guide, update it where possible and re-upload it to your site,referencing the updates so that your readers know your content is up to date. Thisalso applies for all content listed on your website. Staff changed? Newservices to offer? Make sure your website is up-to-date on all that ishappening at your company.

Also, try and keep testimonials as up-to-date aspossible, don’t be afraid to ask for and encourage them, and remember to addthem to your website – they can have a huge impact on potential customers.                Anothergreat way to show visitors that your website is current is through the use ofsocial media. Regular social media posts are a great way to interact with yourvisitors and make them aware of your online presence. Not enough time? Try atool like hootsuite and schedule your posts for the upcoming month in one go!An easy part of your website tomiss when checking for updated content is the site’s functionality. Plugins andthemes will need updating to run smoothly and protect the user from issues andpotential scams. It’s also easy for aspects of your site to disappear so it’sworth doing a monthly audit on your website to ensure all plugins, forms andlinks are still working correctly.

 Legal RequirementsIt’s easy to let things slip but one thing you need to stayon top of are the ever changing legal requirements. The law is constantlychanging and evolving and as a business, you are a required to conform to thesechanges or face legal action. Accessibility, selling online, data protection,PCI compliance and tax rule changes are just some of the legal requirementsthat could apply to your business and it is important that you update allrelevant information like FAQ’s and Privacy Policy to avoid confusion orsupport issues with your visitors.  Wondering what to dofirst?The best thing to do is to set yourself a target.

Thinklogically based on your user’s needs, requirements and desires and what it isyou, as a company, is wanting to gather from your website. Once you havedecided on this, create a plan. Are you going to blog once a week or once amonth? How often do you plan to post on social media? If you plan in advance,the workload becomes a lot more manageable. If there are several staff membersin the company, why not share the workload and plan ahead for blog posts?Varying the authors of your blog posts will add character to your company andcan help users feel more connected to who you are.  A fresh website and updated content results in better searchengine rankings, increasing traffic, repeat visitors and many other benefits!