When surfing the web, there are few things as off-putting as an old and outdated website. Useless information, dead links and wonky images can put people off dealing with your organisation. Sharp and up-to-date website content, on the other hand, can be a major point of attraction, showing that those behind it are professional and dynamic.
There are several things to keep on top of on your website. Learn what they are and how to manage them below.
Preventing the most serious problems out-of-date website content can cause
While some out-of-date content can just seem a bit off. Other types can have serious consequences for your business.
Few shrewd businesses would undertake false advertising on purpose, but you would probably be surprised how many do it accidentally through out-of-date content. The reason is it’s such an easy to make:
- Serena Spooner’s business gets Cutlery Monthly’s Best Spoon BusinessSeller in Yorkshire award 2020 (for example).
- Excitedly, she splashes “We’re Cutlery Monthly’s Best Spoon Seller in Yorkshire” across her home page.
- 2020 ends and Serena gets on selling spoons.
- In 2022, an ice cream parlour buys from Serena to source their spoons from the best spoon business in Yorkshire.
- Serena is now liable to litigation under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
The odds of our spoon-making friend getting sued over such a claim are low in this case, but it’s not impossible, and the more serious and visible the claim, the worse the risk is. Ryanair is one big company to suffer heavily from legal proceedings over showing outdated information.
Old service offerings
Less serious but more likely is the chance of an awkward conversation with a customer who wants to take up an out-of-date service offering or sale on your site. This could be before the purchase when a customer excitedly rings up to get 50% off your spoons. Perhaps worse, it could also be someone who has clicked a button to “Get 1000 spoons for just £199” but has in fact been charged £350 because the offer has ended, but the website hasn’t been updated.
In the first case, one might feel pushed to offer a service at a lower price. In the second case, it’s easy to lose a valuable prospective customer who feels conned when really, it’s just a lapse in website content updating. Learn to prevent these problems in the next section.
Products and Services
The difficulty of keeping products and services up to date depends on your business. It’s important to keep on top of them though. Especially prices.
To prevent these problems above from happening to you, follow these three steps:
- Note down all the places on your website where product and service prices are shown.
- Check every relevant price whenever you update prices.
- When you run a sale, note the end date on the same page as the new price and set yourself a reminder to change every relevant place when it finishes.
Product details are harder to keep on top of than prices, as they can be almost anywhere on your website in any format. But it’s useful to take the same approach as with prices, review your product pages regularly and check the full site at least once per year.
Like so many things, some blogs are evergreen while some blogs go out of date fast. Particularly ones on technology, current affairs, fashions and trends, innovations and politics. It’s good to scan through these in your yearly review. If the same person is responsible for scanning as writing, it can be quite a quick task. If something is starting to sound out of date, give it an edit. This can also be a good time to check that you’re still happy with the quality of the blogs and their results. You can also add in any new bits of advice or updates you may have.
The first rule to limit this is not to use contextual time references like yesterday, next month, this summer. Rather, use definite dates the 8th of May 2022, May 2022 or Summer 2022. If the tone of the article fits terms like yesterday and today better, you can always include a short date after the contextual word – e.g. today (09/05/22)
Testimonials, Case Studies and Reviews
Up-to-date testimonials, reviews and case studies tell clients a lot of good things about your brand:
- It gets regular positive feedback
- It’s on the ball
- Prospects can still ask for a reference
- You’re not cherry-picking testimonials – Your service is consistently good.
For this reason, I’d advise reviewing and refreshing your testimonials every year. Ideally, you’d also have a date, provider name and hometown or organisation name to ensure prospects its current and accurate.
Let everyone know your testimonials and reviews are genuine by getting them fed directly onto your site from platforms like Google My Business and Trustpilot. These platforms have plugins for WordPress and some other web design platforms so customers can see on your site that the reviews are real, given by genuine people, and certified. The reliability of these feeds will reassure your prospects.
Case studies and portfolios
Keep the work you’re showing up-to-date on your site. Up-to-date portfolios say all the same good things about your brand as recent reviews and they let customers know you’re still working.
If you’re a digital creative or online service provider like me, you can also benefit from linking to your creations in case studies and portfolios. Then it becomes very important to ensure those links are always working. A dead link in your case studies or portfolios can take many prospective clients away from your site for good.
Your website is one of the first places where clients, prospects and others look to get in contact with you. Hence, if those details are wrong, there can be pretty serious implications for your business. I
Contact details are easy to track on simple sites. If you have a more complex site, it may be useful to track these details in the same way as your prices:
- Note down all the places on your website with contact details and links.
- Go back and check the relevant details when something changes.
- Check all these details in your yearly review.
f you let people contact you through forms or direct link buttons on your site, check these are up-to-date too. This is very important as you may be missing out on valuable leads whenever these things aren’t up and running correctly.
Call and email forwarding
Call and email forwarding can prevent your old contact details from ever becoming completely obsolete. This can be especially useful if you had your previous number or address for a long time and splashed it in a lot of social media posts, newsletters and other places.
We can provide email forwarding services for all emails and websites we host. If you’re with us, we can set this up. If you’re not, and you’re getting muddled over emails, we may be able to help too.
Images and Visual Website Content
Your main aim when updating the visual side of your site should be to avoid it looking dated or out of sync with your brand. There are a few good practices involved in this:
- Include images in your yearly review / update.
- If the site’s layout or format changes, check everything still fits together and looks good.
- Photos may need resizing or swapping.
- Be aware that changes to platforms, themes and plugins you use can change your site’s look.
- Keep headshots up to date with staffing changes.
- Keep your site in Sync with your branding. For many businesses today, it is the number one place where the brand is seen, so you’re losing out if it’s out of date.
Older sites can start to look generally dated. If this happens to yours, start to bookmark some attractive modern sites for innovative inspiration and book a chat with your web designer. It’s good practice to renovate your site every few years, at least.
Worth bearing in mind
When updating any part of your site, ask if it is what you wanted in the first place and check if it’s succeeding for your business. While the former is a matter of opinion, website success is measured through analytics, which you can find out more about here.
That covers all the main areas of website content to keep updated on your site. Tick these off this list below to make sure everything is up to date.
- Products and services
- Testimonials and reviews
- Case studies and portfolio links
- Contact details
- Images and visuals
- Is it working as I want?
Your website is your shop window on the internet and much more. Keep it up to date and it will be a useful, modern and dynamic reflection of your organisation. Let it get old and obsolete and it will be the exact opposite.