If you haven’t seen the first three blog posts in the content makeover series – covering such topics as crafting compelling copy for your audience and displaying that copy in an engaging way – you can review those here (Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3). In this final installment, we will delve into the issue of timeliness and its impact, positive or negative, on your visitors’ web experience. Mind you, the task of keeping a website current has many moving parts, from design to technology and more, each of which could be its own blog series. For our purposes here, we’ll stick to the topic of the content itself.
Depending on the nature of your site, the concept of timeliness will vary. If your business is product-based, a site that displays out-of-stock or discontinued items is frustrating to customers and likely detrimental to your bottom line. Sites that feature searchable listings that return old data, or even worse, data that’s no longer available, are an obvious problem. If yours is a service-oriented organization built on relationships, careful attention is required in keeping features like personnel listings and bios up-to-date.
Beyond the obvious technical and performance concerns of outdated content, think about the halo effect of these issues on your brand. Visitors can easily be left with the impression that outdated content equals a neglected site. As a result, red flags are raised among your target audiences, either subliminally or consciously, and they have a world of alternatives at their fingertips.
Here’s the good news. Thus far in this blog series, we’ve covered topics about design and copywriting that, while simple, do require some skill. Clearing your site of outdated copy and content, however, requires nothing more than your time and attention. Think of the following recommendations as the low-hanging fruit of your content improvement process:
- Fix or remove broken links. These can damage your search engine rankings, frustrate your customers or constituents and cost you money.
- Update procedural or inventory information. Retailers know that out-of-stocks online tend to have bigger consequences than at brick-and-mortar stores in terms of lost sales and customers. Whatever your organization or your business model, take a cue from ecommerce and address any inherent errors with your visitors’ online transactions.
- Delete past events or seasonal references. Nothing says “this isn’t what I’m looking for” like seeing promotional information about an event that happened last year. Bottom line, if you can’t keep up with such content, don’t include it in the first place. And if you have a calendar of events, make it someone’s regular responsibility to keep it current.
- Keep your people up-to-date. An organization’s people are often its greatest asset. In the days of LinkedIn and other social media, personnel moves are more top of mind than ever, so make sure your staff is represented accurately on your site and that changes are reflected quickly.
- Address misspellings and typos. Let’s face it, these things are inevitable, but they’re also easily fixed. While not directly related to the topic of timeliness, typos and grammatical errors tend to leave the impression of a site that is static or neglected.
Thanks for following our content makeover blog series. In these four posts, we have really only scratched the surface of what is a very robust topic. If there is more you’d like to see, or if you have a question about something specific, email us. We’d love to continue the conversation.