In today’s market, we can all agree it’s important to keep your website updated. But what does that mean and how often are website updates needed?
We advise clients that regular maintenance is crucial to online success. There are 6 key areas that should be reviewed on a regular basis: content, design, Technical SEO, Performance, integrations, and maintenance.
In this article, we’ll review the when, why, and how of each of these 6 key areas.
Updating Website Content:
When: Basic website content should be reviewed once at least once a month while on-page SEO metrics should be revisited every 6-9 months.
Why: Reviewing basic website content helps ensure calls to action, tone, images and offers are up to date and in line with the current brand, and industry trends. Revisiting on-page SEO metrics gives you the opportunity to adjust your current SEO strategy as well as keep on top of shifts in the market that could affect how users search for services like yours in real-time.
How: A critical eye from an internal team member will usually suffice for the review of basic content. On-page SEO metrics can be revisited (and content adjusted) by SEO content professionals like North Star or a marketing agency.
TIP: Search engines like Google love fresh content. Adding a blog or adding a monthly specials page to your website is a great way to get fresh content on your site regularly.
Read ‘5 Easy Ways to Ruin a Website‘ for more background on the benefits of crafting great, optimized website content.
Updating Website Design:
When: Every 3-6 months for minor style updates though most businesses should expect to do a major overhaul or straight redesign/rebuild of their site every 2-3 years.
Why: Recently a New York-based agency (We Are Social) and social media management firm Hootsuite reported that: Across all devices, the average Internet user (aged 16 to 64) spends six hours and 58 minutes online per day.
This massive exposure to the latest and greatest the online has to offer may mean that today’s consumers are positioned to spot ‘outdated design’ faster than ever. If your site looks (or feels) outdated, it can be taken as a sign that your service, offers and value are outdated as well.
How: First, start with great web design. If your site is more than 3 years old, you’re already past due for a redesign. If you’ve redesigned your website in the past year, just give it a solid once over and compare it to some of your competition… how does it compare? Then, ask for a second opinion from someone who fits your target demographic and would benefit from services like yours as well as someone in the design/marketing industry. From there you can take action as needed.
Read ‘Website Redesign 101: A Complete Guide‘ for more information about redesigning a website.
Reviewing a Website’s Technical SEO:
When: This should be reviewed on a quarterly basis, or more often if you’re making changes to your website that could affect your SEO (such as changing your website platform or redesigning your website).
Why: This is to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines and that you’re keeping up with the latest SEO trends and techniques.
How: Technical SEO can be reviewed by an internal team member (if they have a technical background in performance optimization), an external marketing agency or a professional Web Development agency like North Star.
Read ‘Importance of SEO: A Guide for Small Business Owners‘ for more information about the different types of SEO.
Review Your Website’s Performance:
When: This should be reviewed monthly, or more often if you’re noticing any issues with your website’s performance (such as slow loading times or frequent downtime).
Why: This is to ensure that your website is running smoothly and efficiently.
How: You can run a performance review via Google’s Lighthouse. Recommendations on that report can then be implemented by a professional Web Development agency like North Star.
Read ‘Is your Website Working for You? Redesign it for More Conversions‘ for more information about integrations, performance, and other metrics related to search engine rankings and user experience.
Reviewing and Upgrading Integrations:
When: Every 6-12 months.
Why: This is to ensure that any third-party integrations you’re using are still working properly and that there haven’t been any changes on their end that could affect your website.
More importantly, it’s to ensure that the customer experience is still in-line with your actual business model, services, and processes.
Ex: If you’ve upgraded your booking process to leverage a calendar management system like Calendly, it’s important that be integrated into your website so you get the most out of the investment.
Basic Website Maintenance:
When: This should be done on a weekly basis, or more often if you’re making changes to your website (such as adding new content or changing website settings).
Why: This is to ensure that your website is secure and running smoothly.
How: Basic website maintenance includes updating plugins, technical SEO, and PHP updates. It also includes testing integrations, forms, security, and uptime monitoring among other things. Most businesses engage an external service provider for basic, monthly maintenance services such as these. North Star offers custom maintenance plans that provide as much (or as little support) as is needed.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and review/update your website more often than less. This will help ensure that your website is always accurate, up-to-date, and functioning properly.
It’s also important to remember that while websites need to be redesigned/rebuilt every 3 years or so, starting with great website design, content and functions means that the rebuilds/redesigns later on may be less expensive and labor-intensive later on. This is because much of the flow, structure, and content may be salvageable making your rebuild more of a ‘reskin’ than a complete do-over.
If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your website, take some time now to pop it open and give it an honest review. How does it ‘feel’ in general? How does it fare against the competition? Is the content and service offerings up to date? Is it slow, sluggish, or glitching?
North Star offers a complete suite of web development services including Keyword Research, Competitor Analysis, SEO optimized content development, WordPress Website Design, Branding services, Maintenance, and optimized Blog Strategies.
We also offer this free DIY SEO Audit tool that can help you look under the hood of your site to see how search engines like google ‘see’ your site. Go ahead, take our audit tool for a spin.
And, if you’re ready to schedule a free consultation to see if the North Star team can help take your business in the right direction, you can get started here.