This week, I tackle one of the questions I get most often.
How often should I update my website?
Business owners know that fresh website content matters, both in perception to the site’s visitors as well as in the search engines’ value and ranking of the website. But, what is that magic frequency? Is it once a month? Every week? The answer to this question has a real impact on a small business.
That frequency decision requires planning and allocation of scarce resources. And the more frequent, the more resources it demands. Someone has to write, edit, post, and share that new content. With limited personnel resources, you’ve got to find the time to make this happen. So, it makes sense that you would want a hard number to work towards. So, what my clients are really asking me is more like this:
What is the least amount I can get away with?
It will surprise no one that there is no definitive answer. The squishier (I think we can agree that’s a legit marketing term) answer is something like: the more, the better. Four simple words that still don’t really answer the question.
There is plenty of data (yes, these things are studied extensively) that says that the magic number is between 11-16 times per month, depending on the size of your company. That translates to between 3-4 times PER WEEK. I know as a fellow small business owner, and from my twenty years of working closely with other small businesses, that for most of us that just isn’t feasible. Does that mean you are doomed to internet obscurity and under-performance? No.
This same data suggests that the perfect blog post is around 2,300 words long – just thought I’d share that additional tidbit so you can understand how unhelpful that data can be. For reference, this post is 725ish words long. It is out of the realm of practicality that a small business would crank out 3-4 pieces per week that are three times as long as this piece. Also, I know that my clients and potential clients have no time or interest in reading 2,300-word pieces on internet marketing and websites. They want to know, in the shortest number of words possible, what they can do to maximize their visibility online.
So, let’s get realistic.
Questions to Ask
A more reasonable approach for your small business is to develop a content plan that keeps your specific market and customers in mind. Here are some key questions to help you establish a schedule that makes sense.
- What does YOUR competitive space look like online? What I mean is this: when you do sample searches in Google for keywords related to your business like “[your business service] in [your city name/service area]” what do you see? Who is there and how often are they posting and sharing news? What is normal for your market space can be very different from what is the standard for another small business. You need to set goals that are in line with your market. Obviously, exceeding the market standard puts you in a better competitive position.
- What frequency can you maintain on a consistent basis? Consistency makes more difference than the actual number. Determine a number that you can stick to, month in, month out. That gives your customers something they can look forward to and count on. For example, maybe it is three pieces per month: a monthly tip, monthly specials, and a fun piece.
- What type of content best matches YOUR potential customers? Creating good, quality content that converts folks from searchers to customers is the most valuable, regardless of frequency. If you write two pieces of new content per month, but they each drive good conversions, that is more valuable to you than 10 pieces of content that do not attract and convert searchers and visitors. So, how often can you create good content that brings in customers?
The answers to these questions are more useful and valuable in your content planning than raw data that suggests numbers that don’t really apply to you, your business, or your market.
We are happy to consult with your business to develop a reasonable content plan that matches your market and your customers. Let’s work together to determine the frequency that works best for you.