Being an early user of computers (1973) and having coded my first website in 1998, I’m regularly asked how often a website “should” be updated.
To keep up with current trends or near-current trends, it’s important to write “update website” on your marketing plan every year. That doesn’t mean you spend $5K to update it! Instead, look at polishing the text a bit every year and tweak or revamp the look every two years.
Sometimes, updates are small. In 2001, I removed music from my home page that was popular in 1999 but had become annoying. In 2003, I added a logo created by a pro and removed pop-ups. I also updated all my marketing collateral (printed materials) to match my website.
Mid-size changes might look like adjusting the dimensions of a website to reach across the entire screen, creating a border around the pages, or updating the font. In 2005, I started reducing text, since the general trend was to say less on each page.
Every 3-5 years (and no more then 5), your site will seem outdated and huge changes will be necessary. Maybe you’ll find a better hosting service, like I did in 2007, which saved me nearly $500 a year. That year I also hired graphic artist and web designer, Nancy Owyang, and changed my niche from working with women business owners back to my “career roots” — working with financial professionals. My website got a new look and updated content, too.
What determines which changes to make?
Feedback from clients and colleagues, what you feel might work best for your visitors to self-qualify themselves, and having a yearly marketing budget.
And let’s not forget best practices and current trends.
In 1999, we were told to put subscribe boxes (to our newsletter) on all our pages to provide as many opportunities for visitors to join our e-list as possible. According to the latest research by LeadPages, this changed as of 2014. Now, it’s recommended to remove the subscribe boxes from every page of your website and instead provide a subscribe graphic on each page of your site that links to a page that contains the subscribe box. Why?
Today, with zillions of websites available, people don’t like to be “sold to” right away when they visit a new website. In fact, they’ll leave a site quickly that tries to hound them to sign up or register for something. What they want to know immediately is that they’ve reached the right site and to learn if the firm behind the site can help them. They like to read, THEN subscribe to learn more, knowing that the reason you’re providing free information is to woo them as a potential client. People no longer want “in the face” selling, and that subscribe box is just that to the masses — you selling you and your services.
A good example of monitoring your site
I put off making my site responsive for three years because it wasn’t a necessary expense. Responsive websites are easily viewable digitally. The costs of making a major changes to a website run from 3-6K for a smaller business.
So watching your website’s trends is imperative. My website traffic reports indicated that the browsers used to view my website didn’t require updating the site. However, by the end of 2013, I noticed an increase in the number of people viewing my site with smart phones. That trend is now 1 out of 4 of the 5000+ people who view my sites monthly. That trend is higher if I look at which browsers people use to visit my LinkedIn profile.
By June of this year my website will be responsive.
How to save for your website updates — small and huge
I recommend that advisors budget 2-3 thousand dollars each year to update their site. In the years you make a handful of changes, roll over the marketing funds to the following year’s budget. The time will come when you’ll need all those funds to keep your site as professional looking as you and your services are!
(c) 2015 Elevating Your Business.
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