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Optimal for engines, optimal for customers | When to update your business website

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By Swift Digital

26 th Nov 2015

It can be difficult to determine when and why to update your small business website. After all, the cost in time if not money can be quite high. Non-essential updates and essential updates can sometimes bleed together, and a single missing piece of information could cause a customer to take their business elsewhere. This article shares a little food for thought on updating your small business website – and some pointers on when to do it.

Customers want information
The main purpose of a small business website is to give a customer information about your services (obviously). Even for a business that dabbles in e-commerce, and even specializes in web design, the information on your website is even more valuable than the registration and purchase back-ends it might also offer. With that in mind, if there's changes to your service, there should be changes to your website. Price changes are easily worth an update, as are new plans or services. If you find most of your updates are news or articles, then your small business should definitely have a blog, if it doesn't already.

Search engine optimisation
Updating your business website can improve your standing on Google and other search engines. This will most often happen if you add webpages with new content or applicable keywords. However, many search engines are becoming "smarter" recently, and Google for example displays a message next to results stating that a website has been updated recently (if it has). This can improve traffic to your website, but more often it will redirect traffic that you lost back to you or create returning customers. Either way, this is a helpful reason to update and a good reason to make each update noticeable and worthwhile.

Getting it right the first time
There is one instance where an update to your business website could be necessary but unfortunate: correcting an error. It is often that you'll find one customer or more has already been affected by an error on your website, before you find the error itself. As such, it's useful to have an intern or a proofreader look over your website, attempt to locate errors, and inform you, either before the page is published or directly after. Otherwise, it is generally imperative that you immediately update your website to fix errors.

Exactly when to update
What can a business owner take away from this article? It's pretty simple: update when you have substantive content to add. Update when you have errors on your website to fix, but try to avoid having those errors in the first place. When you update, search engines will take notice, and while this doesn't have a huge effect on your unique clicks, it can attract attention from existing customers. With all that in mind, once a month is a good starting point for updates – hopefully, your business moves at the same speed.
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