Whether you have a blog, corporate website or ecommerce store, updating your website on a regular basis has many benefits. The updating frequency depends on several of factors and this is what you will learn in this article – read the best practices on how often you should update your website.
Why having updated content is important?
Keeping your website’s content updated and fresh is not an easy job to do, it costs both time and money. On the other hand, the benefits from doing so – especially the long term benefits worth the effort and cost.
Benefits from keeping your website’s content fresh
I will define the meaning of ‘fresh content’ in the next section and also provide some guidelines on how often should you update a website depending on its type, for now it is important to understand the benefits from doing so.
It’s good for SEO – Search engines love content and especially new content. They like to have long quality posts in their index to satisfy their users. A website that is updated regularly is crawled more often, has more pages in the index and more possibilities to boost SEO by applying internal linking best practices.
It’s good for social media – If you are using social media marketing to promote your blog, you know that one of the most critical success factors is the content you post on your social media pages. Many times the problem that destroys your effort is lack of content. Having a website that is updated on a regular basis will also give you fuel for your social media promotions.
It’s good for your users – Websites are meant to serve users and giving users fresh content makes them happier. A happy user will most probably come back, convert, register, buy or recommend your website to other people. I am not saying that this is easy as 1-2-3, you need to first get your website noticed so that it receives a decent amount of readers but once you reach to that point everything becomes easier.
It’s a signal that your website or business is active and alive – Imagine visiting 2 identical websites selling the same product at the same price but one of them has an updated blog, support forum or news section. Other things being equal, which one would you trust? The one that has updated content gives you the feeling that it is still in operation, active and that they care about their customers.
The same is true when you visit a product support forum. If the last update done on the forum was 2 years ago, would you trust that company and buy their product knowing that their support is non-existent?
Updating is the core action of content marketing – Everybody talks about content marketing these days, many people say it’s the new SEO and this is not far from the truth. Without content you cannot do much online, with good repeating content you can do a lot.
Many businesses both online and offline are using content to generate sales and promote brand awareness. The examples are a lot; buffer is using content to promote their social media scheduling tool, copyblogger to promote their products and services, quicksprout to get more leads, wordstream to get more customers for PPC, Nike to promote their shoes, BMW to promote their cars, the list is endless.
What is fresh content?
Before getting into the publishing details, let me first help you understand what do we mean when we say that a website needs to be updated with ‘fresh content’. From experience this is something that many people misunderstand and this makes their updating job even more difficult.
‘Fresh content’ is not necessarily content that is totally new for the web but is content that is new for the particular website AND not found anywhere else in the web in EXACTLY the same format.
For example, the article you are reading now is ‘new content’ for digital marketing pro because it is unique, original and not found in any other web site online. If you search google for ‘How often should I update my website’ you will find hundreds of articles but the specific content you are reading in this post is unique and exclusive to this website.
So ‘fresh’ does not only mean news items or new concepts or theories (which is obvious) but also something new for the particular website or blog.
How often to add new content to your website or blog
The mission of each website is different and so are the updating requirements. You can’t expect a corporate blog to be updated as often as a regular blog or a regular blog as often as a news or sports blog.
I had the opportunity to work with clients in various industries and helped them with their website updating and blog management and in their majority web properties can be classified in the following categories:
Sports / Fashion / Celebrity / Tech / Lifestyle / Financial / Newspaper / Magazines
In this category I added websites or blogs that deal with trending topics. For these websites updating with new information several times per day is crucial for their success. There is no limit to the number of updates and generally the more the better. Most of their visits are coming from repeating visitors, social media and Google news. Postings are usually short and to the point and contain a lot of images.
Normal Websites / Blogs
This category includes blogs like the one you are reading now. In other words websites that provide evergreen content (content that stays relevant for a long period of time). In this category you expect to find personal development blogs, how-to style blogs, informational blogs, wiki, marketing, weight loss, studies, analytics, travel tips, reviews and many more.
As a rule of thumb 3 updates per week are more than enough, there is no need to update daily unless of course you have the resources to execute such a task.
Corporate Website / Blog
These are business websites that showcase a company and the products/services it is offering. They are among the most difficult types of websites to update frequently because once the initial setup has been made and information about the company is published, you don’t have anything useful to publish.
Fortunately there is a way out and that is to create a corporate blog. Let me give you a few examples of how a blog can help a business website have useful fresh content on a regular basis.
Law firms – They can use the blog to publish how-to and informational articles (‘What are my rights a father’) and news on law related topics.
Company selling tyres – Informational articles about the use of different type of tyres, how-to articles related to DIY tyre maintenance.
Investment company – Articles on everything related to the financial sector, from economy news to investment advice.
Online Jobs website – Articles about professions that are trending or in need, how-to articles (‘How to prepare for your job interview’).
These are just a few examples that demonstrate that a blog can fit in almost any niche and industry. What you need is out of the box ideas and resources to implement blogging correctly.
The same publishing ‘rules’ apply like normal websites, i.e. updating can be 2-3 times per week.
Why most corporate blogs fail: I have blogged many times about corporate blogs and why they fail and although this is not the core topic of this article, I will mention in summary the most common failure reasons:
- Not allocating enough resources to make it work (both money and time).
- Lack of useful, unique and informative content.
- Wrong choice of blogging platform.
- Not measuring the effectiveness and ROI from blogging.
- Not giving it enough time.
- Bad choice of article titles.
- Not doing enough keyword research.
Content marketing is one of the most efficient ways to promote your online store and it is not more difficult than it sounds. Let me outline some examples on how content updating can work for an ecommerce website.
Imagine that you have your ecommerce website fully loaded with your products. For each product you have a description, reviews and images. What can you publish in your blog?
- Articles / Videos on how to use your products
- Detailed product reviews
- Reviews comparing similar products
- Articles that are indirectly related to your niche. For example if you are selling engagement rings you can provide blog posts related to weddings, how to propose etc
- Announcement about new products, changes to existing products
- Announcements about special offers and upcoming events
How often should you update your ecommerce blog? The answer is simple, when you have new HIGH QUALITY content to publish. For an ecommerce website you need to be careful not to drive potential customers away but to give them content that they need. If you can do this on a frequent basis that’s even better but I know from experience that this is hard to do.
Can you outsource website updating?
If you are a solo blogger or a sole proprietorship all you have to do is create a publishing schedule and allocate the necessary hours needed to create the content and updates needed for your website.
If on the other hand, you are a small to medium company then things get a bit more complicated since most probably you don’t have the resources in-house to manage blogging and updating. In such cases outsourcing your website updating is a good choice. It’s not free, it will have a cost but if you outsource this task to a professional company that knows how to run a business blog, the long term benefits are way more than the initial investment. Before making a decision on who to outsource make sure that they have an easy to understand pricing scheme and that they can show you real examples from companies that are using their website updating services.
How often do you update your website or blog? Do you agree with my suggestions above?