When your business website has been serving its purpose for a while, it’s easy to go into ‘autopilot mode’ and just let it be. If nothing seems to be going wrong and you aren’t hearing any complaints then it is natural to assume everything is OK.
In truth, there are very good reasons to periodically check your website because whereas those very familiar with the content may skip over blocks of text, a potential new client will be reading it from a different standpoint and will notice all the out of date material. This looks unprofessional or neglected and they are then less likely to continue exploring your site, products and services.
Let’s get specific, here are a few examples where maybe the content should be removed or swapped out.
If it’s the middle of winter, your site probably shouldn’t still have a link to that ‘summer cool down’ promo you ran over the summer holidays. It was a great promotion at the time but it is really easy to leave the link in there and forget to swap it out for your ‘winter warmer’!
The exception is if your business takes advance bookings and you are currently taking bookings for next summer, in which case make sure you’re happy with the same price being applied to next year (if the price is quoted) and make sure the text makes sense for advance bookings.
Managing internal links within your own site is easy and when the status quo remains, you can expect these all to remain in great shape. If your site has external links (linking outside your site to another), then they should be checked from time to time to make sure they are still valid.
The flip side of the same coin is that when you have a website redesign or you switch up your page names (to improve your SEO for instance), think ahead to those websites pointing back to yours. It is courteous and professional to either let them know the changes or apply redirects. This is especially the case if they are sites which could refer traffic back to you to get new clients – each broken link is a missed opportunity.
‘Old Brand’ images
When you have re-branded your company profile with a new color scheme or a new logo, look out for images on your site which still feature the old scheme. Whilst they look nostalgic to you, they dilute your current brand to a new visitor.
Testimonials are fantastic – they are golden snippets on your site where real customers give you glowing feedback, truly influential in the eyes of a new business prospect. If you don’t have recent testimonials or if you are not able to frequently update them online then consider a testimonial without a date attached.
If you have audio clips or music on your site, it’s safest to stick to timeless tracks. Likewise, if you are referencing a track, stay away from terms like ‘newly released’.
Now the good news
A few tips to help you look ‘evergreen’
- Plan ahead with expiry dates in mind. If you always run a contest in December, stay away from Thursday December 1st 2016 and instead write your start date as December 1st. That way, the material can be reused year on year.
- Work out a page naming convention that works for your business and stick to it. That way, when products are retired or replaced, you can easily isolate the pages affected.
- If you make revisions to a document or file, use version numbers instead of dates as they will carry you through without looking outdated.
- When you get a new employee, it is likely that one of their first jobs will be to get to know your business by exploring your site. This is a valuable opportunity to get ‘fresh eyes’ to click around your site and report back if anything looks amiss. They will value your trust so it is a win-win situation.