Why Should You Update Your Website?
by Dale A. Robbins

A website can be an incredible tool to communicate your information, or to market your product to a world-wide audience. Like all other methods of mass communication, effective websites will be the product of considerable planning, development and resources. However, once you've made your initial investment and have your site up and running, the bigger job still lies ahead to keep it updated and maintained.

Life has taught me some important lessons about the necessity of maintenance. If you don't take care of your health, you'll get sick... if you don't paint your house, it will rot... and if you don't change the oil in your car frequently, someday you'll have the blissful opportunity to replace your engine. My dentist has this same insight, and in an attempt to communicate the importance of maintaining regular dental care, he displays a very effective sign in his office. It says, "Ignore your teeth, and they'll go away."

The same is true with your web site. Despite all the time or money you put into its design and hosting, if you neglect it, it will provide modest or little benefit in return. The success of your web venture will rely much on the amount of attention and maintenance you put into it. 

Four Reasons Why Regular Web Maintenance is Important

(1) Fresh material added regularly to your site keeps visitors coming back to see what's new. Some sites are constantly updated by the natural activity of their business, such as news, real estate, classified ads or online catalogs. However every site should routinely feature creative new content, text, graphics or images, to build the traffic of repeat visitors. Some sites add such features as scrolling news headlines, current time/temperature, discussion boards, or ad-your-own-link pages to stimulate a growing viewership. By all means, don't limit your web to a static, stale presentation. Spending the time and resources to maintain freshness, usefulness and relevancy will reap a tremendous dividend.

(2) Websites must continually evolve and be refined to meet the increasing demands of your audience or client base, as well as reflect the progressing technologies and new browser versions. As time goes by, you may see the usefulness of adding a search tool, automated forms, a mailing list database or other interactive functions. You may discover better ways to organize your information or improve the usability of your site. You may also come up with more features to add which do nothing more than help provide some benefit to your visitors, which is a sure-fire way to build a rapport with future clients or customers.

(3) The success of your website is largely dependent on whether people can find your site from a search engine or link index. Such directories are constantly changing the way they rank and display sites, and some search engines will not index your site at all unless your pages contain appropriate meta tags, well-structured content or error-free HTML code. This all requires on-going supervision and interaction to assure that your site remains listed properly.

(4) There should always be a constant technical supervision of your site to keep it running smoothly. Just like in all other aspects of life's journey, the cyber-highway also has it's pot-holes and road hazards. You want to make sure your host server is always doing what it's supposed to, that your files and file directory structures remain intact, and that all your links are still functional. You should also review a regular report of site statistics, to see how much traffic you are getting, where it's coming from, in order to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your web. Anyone who relies on their site for business purposes should have it monitored daily.

Maintaining Your Site

Maintenance for a small site may take as little as a few hours a month. A large site may be a full-time job to maintain. However, whether large or small, outsourcing your web maintenance can be a very smart choice. Among other reasons, a maintenance firm such as ours has an unlimited variety of technical resources, personnel and programmers available, whose broad experience easily exceeds that of any company's full-time web staff. In other words, we can do it all, while company personnel may only have a narrow focus of expertise. And outsourcing saves value resource dollars from unnecessary personnel, benefits or office space.
 

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