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How often should you update your web site?

When people ask for examples of our work, we find they're not actually looking for flowery, flashy examples - the usual things creatives show when they want to showcase their work.

Instead, we find it more useful to show them a range of client projects which showcase HOW the work was done. This is as important a part of the process as WHAT is produced.

Good quality work doesn't always mean you've worked on the bigger projects. We know. We've worked on sites that get in excess of four million 'hits' (yes, we're cringing at using a neanderthal web measurement tool, but most people get this) a week, but it's the smaller ones that require more focussed work and more targetted content. Plus, if big web budgets meant quality work, the Federal Government wouldn't have pulled the plug on their $13 million Grocery Choice web site turkey.

And just one last thing on these examples: when you’re looking at them, please bear in mind that the design isn’t our work. We say that as often when reviewing web pages, most people focus on the design – our contribution was primarily the web writing or strategy).

So what have we been working on lately? This should help ...

In a recent series of web writing workshops for schools, the question was asked – how often should we update our web site?

Updating your web site is critical to its success.  You can have the prettiest, funkiest, coolest web site that your designer can deliver, but if you get a reputation that it’s out of date, people just stop visiting.  They don’t cut you some slack and keep visiting in the hope it’s up to date – they just don’t bother.

So how often should you update your site to ensure people keep coming?

For schools, the answer is quite simple – you need to update your web site at least as often as you publish a school newsletter.

Companies or government can use a similar formula.  If you publish a quarterly newsletter, then your web site needs to be updated at least four times a year (and be updated we mean an overhaul and review of your content).

If you publish information on a monthly basis to supporters (if you’re a non-profit), then you need to update your web site content at least once a month.

So how does that flow into social media?  Shouldn’t you be in the social media space daily?  Hourly?  Minute by minute? Not necessarily.

When it comes to social media, the formula we like to use is to divide the timeframes you are updating your web site by four.  If you, as an organisation, are updating your web site once a month – and you are in the social media space – then you need to be posting/tweeting/contributing at least once a week.  For a quarterly web site update, it means at least once a month.

Notice the words ‘at least’.  One of the things about social media is that it requires ongoing commitment.  Less than that can be seen as a negative.  You need to be regular – not every day – but at least in keeping with the information flow from your business.

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