An intro to web accessibility: building a digital world for everyone
Discover accessible web design, its impact on users and its business benefits. From WCAG 2.2 to key accessibility features, here’s an intro to inclusive sites.Read More »
Craig Greenup 24/07/19, 18:07
How often you update your website does ultimately depend on the kind of business you have. Some benefit from regular updates and others can go longer before seeing negative effects, but the vast majority will need to be refreshed occasionally as a minimum.
There are basically two things that are likely to need updating to keep everything running smoothly and performing as it should: site content and the site infrastructure. Content refers to written words and images, whereas the site infrastructure refers to all the parts that make up the site and affect the way it looks and functions.
Search engines take cues from websites which affect how well they will rank, and therefore how close they get to being the number 1 result when a person makes a search query. Some of the cues that are used to assess the site relate to the quality and freshness of the content.
The kind of content you will want to ensure is kept as relevant and fresh as possible extends to blogs, category and product pages, and any informational pages such FAQs and resource sections. Unfortunately, refreshing your content isn’t enough to guarantee results on its own, but paired with other search engine optimisation techniques it will give your site the best chance to rank and perform well.
Like with most things, there are a couple of caveats to help you decide whether your website is the kind that will benefit from regular content updates. Firstly, if your site is scientific, research based, or offers in-depth information about a specific topic or industry then the written content isn’t likely to change all that often. With this kind of site, it is considered good practice to have detailed, authoritative content on specific topics which are unlikely to need updating over time. This is known as ‘evergreen content’ and should only need occasional updates to keep it relevant.
Sites which tend to need more frequent updates are sites which cover current and trending topics such as news, fashion, lifestyle and tech. These often benefit from a daily update as the sectors are known for moving quickly. It’s not really possible to update these kinds of websites too frequently – in fact, the more often they can be updated the better.
While the content side of things is pretty straightforward, it can be a little trickier to know when the website itself could do with an update and indeed which parts to update and which to leave as they are. For many companies a website is their main source of conversions and revenue so it’s vital to make sure everything is in good order.
To give you a better idea of whether your site structure needs updating you should consider carrying out a performance review as your first step. This will give you valuable insights into your website such as page load speeds, how easily the site can be navigated, and the internal page structure. Your company should use this as a good starting point as it will help draw your attention to any areas of the site which need a little TLC.
It’s always a good idea to research your market thoroughly before you plan any changes, and see what your competitors are doing and how closely your website aligns with others in the industry. You should also be using analytical data from your site to see how your users behave and to get an idea of your growth trajectory.
Of course, site updates don’t have to be as extensive as having a new site built every few years; it’s more likely that your site will need smaller changes on a slightly more regular basis. For example, if you use shared servers to host your site you may notice a point at which the number of visitors has grown and site performance seems to be slowing down. This could be remedied by opting for a dedicated server to improve capacity and better handle a higher volume of users.
Most sites will need some form of update every year or so, whether that is updating security features, switching your hosting plan, or more general maintenance work to keep things ticking over. Some of this can be done by those with a little technical know-how but it can be risky. Website updates can negatively affect your site’s performance and conversion rates, for example, so we always recommend leaving the planning and implementation of updates to the professionals.
If your site could do with a refresher then don’t hesitate to contact our team at Radical Web Design. We specialise in: