This post originally appeared on the blog March 9, 2017 and has received a refresh.
Picture something for a moment. What comes to mind when you think of green, stagnant pond water? It’s probably not a pleasant image. Usually it’s green and uninviting. You certainly wouldn’t want to jump in feet first or encourage your child to do the same. Believe it or not, your website freshness can have the same effect. Does your site make users grab their goggles and dive in, or do they worry they’ll encounter something gross?
What is Website Freshness?
Website freshness refers mostly to the content on your website. Just as stagnant water doesn’t appeal, a website that sits unattended for long periods of time is dangerous. If you haven’t added content, images, or made updates to your website in a long time, your website freshness is suffering. When a visitor goes to a site and sees outdated information, technology, etc. they are less likely to take you seriously and more likely to turn to the competition. If nothing else, the copyright date on your site should at least be the current calendar year. I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve visited where the date at the bottom was two or more years ago. If your business website means that little to you, why are you going to give me the attention I need as your customer?
Website Freshness and SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, means that you prepare a website to rank well in search engines. Website freshness affects your SEO more than almost anything else. Google and other search engines index your site at various intervals. If your website has information added or changed regularly, it will notice that and come back more often. On the other hand, if it detects that nothing has changed on the site for some time, it will actually wait longer to come back and index it again. You want your site to be indexed as often as possible, so your website freshness directly correlates to how often search engines pay attention to you. On more than one occasion, I’ve had clients complain to me that their site is not ranking highly on Google. I have to explain that not adding or updating content regularly negatively affects website rankings.
Now that you understand that website freshness helps your business remain relevant and credible, brings you more business, and helps your SEO, what do you do about it? You’re busy running your business, so it’s easy to let website updates go by the wayside. Here are a few things that you can do.
I know this is easier said than done, but blogging is one of the best things you can do and shows that your website and business are priorities to you. Every time you blog, you create a new page or pages on your site. Google will notice that and keep coming back for more. Blogging also sets you apart as an expert in your field and shows you know what you’re talking about.
Refresh Your Old Blog Content
If you’ve blogged for a long time, make sure you revisit your old content from time to time. You may not have time to write a brand new post from scratch, but repurposing something new saves time and has the same effect.
Changing photos on your site keeps it fresh, particularly if you have a product that people can see. Are you a dog groomer? Post a before and after picture of that scraggly pup that came in last week. Builder? Where’s the picture of the amazing deck you just created? Photo albums are simple to do, particularly in WordPress, and they can be easily updated. Turn it into a simple blog and write a paragraph or two about the image, making each one a post. Now you’re really talking!
You’re probably not the same person and don’t have the same experience as 3 years ago. If the bio or “about us” section of your website is that old, you should revisit it. Have you started offering new services? Highlight them on your website!
Your business or non-profit may have events, fundraisers, etc., and an active events calendar can do a lot for your website freshness. I like this one for WordPress. It’s easy to maintain, and every event added creates a new page on the site. That will get Google’s attention!
As such an awesome business owner, you’re bound to have testimonials from satisfied clients. Most people who were pleased with your services would be happy to write a paragraph about the amazing job you did. Adding a new one occasionally freshens your site.
Contract Out Website Freshness
If the idea of maintaining your own website is intimidating and you just don’t have time, find someone to help you. You’ll see an amazing return on investment if your content is getting updated and your SEO improves as a result.
Your website freshness reflects on your business and shouldn’t go by the wayside. A business or organization is ever changing, and your website should reflect that. So get out of stagnant water, and keep swimming along!