How often should I update my website?

A very common question asked by internet neophytes and veterans alike is “how often should I update my website?”. Well, that question is kind of loaded. What do you mean? Are you talking content or are you talking design?

Even though I am a website designer, I know that when it comes to being successful, content is king. A good design is also necessary but when it comes to recurring traffic, it comes from the content. So how often should the content be updated? Well, the simplest answer is as often as possible. However often you are looking to have people return to your site is how often you should be updating it. Think about it like a periodical. If you want daily traffic, think newspaper (although you don’t have to update quite that much content, you get the idea) or if you want people to return weekly or monthly you can think Magazine. Either way, you need to offer something new to your visitors to keep them coming back. One of the simplest ways to do this is by starting a blog (like this one 🙂 )  where you are able to offer potential clients information that is useful to them. And the best advice I have heard related to blogging is that you should add at least one post a week for no other reason than to keep the search engines coming back for more.

Updating the design of your site is still necessary but does not have to be done nearly as often.  The best way to do it if you already have a solid design is in small tweaks and changes over time so it slowly changes and has more of the continual updating that works so well with content but is not as shocking to the system as a full re-design. Complete overhauls should be done at most annually and more likely every other year to keep from seeming unstable. Constant re-designs of a site is roughly akin to changing your logo constantly and have a tendency to make your business seem unstable. When it comes to a complete overhaul you just need to make sure that the new deign is fully thought through and when it comes time for the new site to launch you can get a lot of PR mileage out of layout, navigation and functional changes that can help drive new traffic as well as bringing back visitors that may have been lost over time.

No matter what type of site you run, the more often you content is updated (assuming that content is valuable), the more likely you are to see repeat visitors to your site and the more likely those people will tell others with similar interests about your site. This type of viral behavior is essential to many business sites and can be the difference between flat and increased sales. So just remember content, content, content, deign (had to throw that in there), and more content. Publish well and often you will be enhancing the success of your online endeavors.