I’ve seen lots of people waste money on updating their websites. They spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to make changes here and there, but they didn’t really matter. When every dollar counts, are you wasting money, too?
To be clear, I’m not saying not to spend money on making site updates. In fact, updates to your website and important, but the kind of updates you make determine whether you’re wisely spending or foolishly wasting your money.
Wise vs. foolish spending
Beauty is only skin deep. We’ve heard it before, and I’ve seen it time and time again with websites—people who pay good money to update their sites, but only on the surface. If you’re primarily focused on superficial changes, then superficial results are all you’re likely to get.
When I talk about superficial site updates, I’m talking about changes for appearance’s sake only. For example, you want to see a new font used in your tagline, or you’re tired of looking at the same stock photo on your home page. I understand this; I really do. It gets boring to see the same thing day in and day out. But these changes can add up fast: changing colors sitewide, replacing all stock photos, using new fonts, even redoing a pricey Flash video. All these changes are superficial, for the beauty of the site only, and most likely, they won’t bring any new visitors to your website. And they will cost you a bit of money in the process.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that appearances and first impressions don’t matter. We all know that they do—greatly. I’m also not suggesting that investing in good graphic design and a solid branding package isn’t important. Having a talented graphic designer is crucial in helping you manage and project the kind of message your customers are looking for. But if your website already reflects your branding and has been carefully assembled by you and your team, consider why you want to update it before you make any changes.
Regular updates to the content of your website are a must. In fact, regular content updates help your site perform better in search engine results. Content updates include new press releases, new articles or blog entries, descriptions of new or revised product lines or services, photos of new products, changes in business descriptions, and more. We’ve all seen terribly outdated websites, and nothing says disinterest more than an old site. Regular content updates are important to keep your site fresh, accurate, and attractive to customers. Content updates, hopefully, are easy for you to do.
Determining a need for updates
Content updates prove that when there’s a need for updates, they’re important to make. Keeping current is important. But there are other needs too. For instance, you’ve rebranded your business to take it in a new direction. Your website should be updated to reflect that. Also, you may find that site visitors aren’t filling out your online form, so you probably need to look at how visitors are led to the form and make a few changes in that process as well. You may also find that visitors find the layout or menu of your site confusing, and those are reasons to change your site as well.
If you want your website to be successful, you need to have feedback about how it’s performing and make necessary changes that reflect that feedback. As with all areas of your business, you’re trying to meet your customers’ needs, and your website should do the same. Site updates ultimately should be about meeting customers’ needs as well.
Dropping a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to update your website is common. But if you want to use your money wisely, be sure to have a good plan and a solid reason to do so. It can mean all the difference between a wise investment and wasteful spending.