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Refresh Your Web Site

By Nancy Jackson
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005

So you have a Web site. And so does most every business these days. But what you really need is a way to set your business apart from the competition, an online presence that will keep clients and prospects coming back again and again.

As usual, outstanding content may be your solution. While clear, well-written content is vital (see my June 2004 newsletter for tips about this), fresh, well-written content may be even more important for bringing new and repeat visitors to your site. Fresh, or regularly updated content, can help you and your business in several ways:

1. Higher rankings. Frequent updates can help your site rank higher in search engines, making it easier for Web surfers to find you. 2. Regular visitors. Often-refreshed content can keep your site interesting, giving visitors a reason to check back frequently for new information. 3. Updated appearance. Adding new content on a regular basis makes your site appear current. When a Web site's most recent update is from August 2002, visitors may question whether the company is dependable or even still in business. 4. Enhanced reputation. Regularly freshened content can help establish your company as an expert resource for your target audience. By providing frequent updates and useful information, focused on your target market, you'll keep them coming back for more of your expertise and eventually, to buy your products and services.

Keeping content fresh sounds like a big job, you may say. Just how often am I supposed to be updating my siteĀ”'s content, you may ask. While the answer will vary depending on your industry and your target audience, regularity is crucial. Some sites add fresh content daily, while others do so weekly or monthly. Even quarterly updates are better than none at all. But the more frequently you update your site's content, the more likely you'll be to reap the benefits above.

So how do you keep your content fresh? Actually, there are a number of different methods, and the ones that work best for you will again depend on your industry and your target audience. As you determine what your 'fresh content' strategy will be, consider these options.

* Industry news. Make your site the resource of choice for people in your target audience who want to stay updated on the latest news in your industry, community, or product suite. If you keep up with industry news yourself, try posting the most interesting items to your site. If not, hire a writer or project manager to brose the news for you and post it on a regular basis. If you want a continuing update of recent news, consider using an RSS feed, which delivers news about your chosen topics on a continual basis.

* Company news. Keep visitors updated about what's going on at your company by posting press releases or other company news on your site. One of the most effective methods of communicating company news and keeping visitors interested is to publish a case study or success story on your site each month. A case study that details how your company has helped solve a particular problem for a client can be a powerful tool in convincing other prospects to work with you.

* Informational articles or reports. Most every business employs experts in its field. Utilize the knowledge of your experts to publish online articles or reports that will offer helpful information for your prospects while convincing them that your company is an authority in your field.

* Newsletters or Weblogs. Publishing your own regular newsletter or Weblog (also known as "blog") can be an excellent way to keep Web content fresh and relevant. With a newsletter, each new issue can be easily uploaded to your site, instantly adding fresh new content. Many small business owners host blogs on their own sites, and their content is freshened each time they add to their blogs.

The best method for updating your Web site content may be one of the above or a combination of them. Regardless of the method you choose, the important thing is to keep that content fresh. It may be your only chance to set your Web site apart from the competition.

About the Author
Nancy Jackson of The WriteShop helps companies better market their products and services with powerful written communications including Web content, newsletters, brochures and custom publications. Subscribe to or read back issues of her FREE monthly newsletter at (www.writeshoponline.com).