Ever had to endure a series of visits to a dentist or doctor, where you end up reading all the magazines, even the ones that are months old? For most people, boredom is quite simply torture – and nothing kills enthusiasm like seeing the same things over and over again.
And the same is true of a website, because once we’ve visited somewhere on the web, there needs to be a good reason to return. Which is why it pays to ensure that there is constantly something fresh and new to experience on your site, in order to encourage a regular pattern of visits.
But the attention span of the average human isn’t the only reason for regular content updates.
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When a search engine creates a list of links for a given enquiry, it takes a good many factors into account when deciding which sites are the most relevant.
One of the important elements in how page rankings are determined is exactly how new the content on the linked page (or pages) is. Therefore if there are two web pages with an article about a given subject, and one was written more recently, then there is a good chance that this one will be listed in first place, unless it is on a site with almost no visitors.
While there are many other factors in determining search rankings, having fresh and regularly updated content is one proven means to deliver a successful site in this respect. And conversely, sites that arrive and are never subsequently revised are mostly a complete waste of time, money and effort.
Where to add content
Exactly what content should be added to a website is very much influenced by the nature of the site and what it was created to achieve.
However, if you’re looking for ways to create content on a regular basis, here are a few standard methods that any site can include.
- A blog: Make a person in marketing a blogger, using the pages to talk about products or clients on a regular basis. These pieces can be created during quieter periods, so as not to interfere with the regular work cycle, and then released once a week or so.
- A dynamic homepage: Even if the homepage of the website isn’t meant to change, you could include a section that links to a news story, the blog, or external news coverage of the business. It only needs to include the latest chronological item, with a link to a page containing all the previous stories that have been run.
- A forum: Having a website forum does take some user management, but regular visitors will create their own content and a community that encourages repeat visits.
- Whitepapers: An informed article by an expert in any subject will attract lots of visitors, and amass reference links on both social media and other websites. These aren’t something that needs to be added every day, or even on a weekly basis, but building a collection of informative discussion papers is another way to get visitors.
Keep moving forwards
The majority of sharks must move forward through the water to get the oxygen they need to survive for their entire lives, and new content is the equivalent life force that enables a site to establish itself in a very crowded worldwide web.
All websites start with very few visitors and not all of them manage to evolve into a dynamic operation with many visitors who repeatedly return.
The key is to keep producing enough new and interesting content to drive the numbers up and ensure that people come back to see what else you’ve created.
If done correctly, new content can provide engagement with potential customers, plus it can differentiate you from business rivals and provide new opportunities for building relationships.
The idea that a website is a fire-and-forget missile built for a static cost is long behind us, and what companies need now is an effective digital shop-front that entices window shoppers inside, and entertains them once over the threshold.
Quite simply, the key to the success of any web venture is updates – and plenty of them.