When’s the last time you updated your web content?

Remember that old info-mercial that used the tagline “Set it and forget it?” It may apply to your crock pot or rotisserie but it certainly doesn’t apply to your web content.

I’m not talking about an all-out redesign, just some basic housekeeping items that keeps your content fresh. While you don’t have to be updating every day, it makes sense to review and tweak at least once a month, unless you are posting blogs on a frequent basis.

Why should you update content?

If you’re like me, too much talk about SEO (search engine optimization) makes my eyes glaze over, but I do know that edits, updates, and new content means searchability improves. However, if you keep changing photos without any meta tags, or add content that no one is searching for, your efforts are in vain.

Website update checklist

These are as easy to fix and update as they are to set and forget. Do a quick review of your site:

Headshot: How old is your profile picture? Is it professional or just a quickly cropped corner of some blurry group photo? You may love your current one, but if it’s 20 pounds ago, or two different eyeglass frame designs ago, or different color hair, you know if you’re guilty. Time to consider a serious update.

Seasonal headers and topics: If you are reading this now in March, but you still have a Thanksgiving cornucopia as the first thing visitors see, you’ve lost them. Websites are a bit like houseplants – keep watering (updating content) and plucking out the dead leaves (removing old links, calendar and event dates that have passed).

Blogs: If the first thing your reader sees is that the last blog was posted in June of 2012, they’ll stop looking around your site and assume you are no longer in business. It doesn’t take long to get back in the swing of blogging without being overwhelmed. Many people stop because they run out of topic ideas or they don’t seem to get any responses.

I help my clients create a manageable blog calendar with these easy steps.

  1. Determine frequency – (even once a month is ok for starters)
  2. Determine format – keep a similar format for each post, such as 1-problem, 1-solution, or a Story – challenge – resolution
  3. Create a mix of helpful and informative content, not just sales specific.
  4. Plot ideas for each month, such as September: back to school tips, family night activities, quick weeknight dinners, etc.
  5. Collect evergreen topics specific to your industry that you can share whenever you get stuck – tax tips, business goals, industry trends

I worked with a client who thought blogging once a week was too daunting, until we started plotting ideas for each month, suddenly we had more than enough topics to go beyond a year!

Offers/promotions: If you held a book launch, a webinar or offered a discount on your services, double check the links, buy now buttons and expiration dates.

Links: Test the back links and affiliate links to make sure they are up to date. Broken or inactive links don’t help your SEO or your credibility.

Think of your website as a living entity instead of the set it and forget it mindset. If it’s more than you can manage, look to your fellow boutique members- many provide services ranging from web design, IT, professional headshots and more. If you can’t find it among our members – ask. The beauty of a network means there’s no need to fumble around on your own when a wealth of knowledge is easily available.

Susan M Sparks offers copywriting, publishing services and coaching for aspiring authors. She is the author of four books and ghostwriter for many entrepreneurial non-fiction titles. She can be reached at Susan@ASAPWritingServices.com.