Often, when I’m talking at a workshop or conference I tell people that search engines love new, unique and relevant content. This inevitably leads to me telling them that they should be updating their websites on a regular basis to:-
a) ensure that search engines frequently come back to your website to get new content, and
b) give your visitors new and interesting info each time they go to your website.
Then I will always get asked the question “how often should we update our website?”
This is a really difficult question to answer because it will change for each and every website, but I will attempt to give you a few pointers as to how often you should update your website.
Look at the other websites in your industry
If you take a look at the other websites that are ranking well in your industry this should give you a good indication of how often you may have to update your own website. Take a look at their blog pages or news pages and see how often they’re adding content. If they’re putting up one article per week on their website, that would be a good goal for you to strive for also.
There’s a few tools around that can make this easier to manage:-
http://www.watchthatpage.com/ is a free service you can sign up for to monitor changes on websites and there’s also the chrome plugin Page Monitor.
Does your update add value to your site?
When I talk about updating your website I don’t mean changing a few words and putting a couple of links in a page. I’m talking about adding content to your website that is relevant and useful to your customers. Any product – no matter how mundane or pedestrian, can have a lot of useful content written about it.
The hardest part of developing a great content strategy is making content helpful, relevant and actionable for customers. If you’re writing content for the sake of it, this will show. If you’re writing content because you want your users to have a better experience on your website, you’re halfway to getting good rankings.
I always tell my customers that content on your website should add value to you and your customer. How can you help your customers use your product better, make it last longer or make it stronger (better, faster, stronger) and don’t forget to think about the commercial aspect of your website content. You want drive people to an action.
Note: for more info about this take a look at our article Why is a 'call to action' so important for SEO?.
How much content should you write?
This also depends on your product or service, your industry and the time you have allocated to marketing. If you can strive for one editorial-style article a month, this is achievable and won’t take up too much of your resources. Once a week would be better but sometimes it’s hard to dedicate that amount of time to writing content for your website.
Ultimately the answer to this question is as often as you can.
How long should you spend on writing content?
For a small business website, allow roughly one to two hours per week. That’s usually enough time to think about the content you're going to write, do some keyword research and produce a decent length article. Sometimes it may take you a little longer if it’s a more in-depth article or you have to do some research on your subject.
What should you write about?
If you think about your product or service enough and put yourself in your customer's shoes, you’ll be able to write something that’s helpful and unique. Let’s say you sell bricks. Pretty boring product… not much you can write about, right?
Well, you could write about “how to clean the bricks on your house” or “how to avoid getting mould in wet areas” or “how to avoid bricks cracking in your home” or “how to make your bricks last longer”. These are the things that will help your customers get more out of your bricks.
If you think about it logically, no matter what service or product you have, there’s always something you can write about that will be helpful, relevant and useful to your users. This is the content you should strive to write when updating your website.
Are there some online tools I can use to help me generate article ideas?
One really helpful tool I use to get ideas for articles is a Google Suggest Scraper. I usually like to type in a keyword followed by the term ‘for’ or ‘with’. Here are some examples with the term ‘bricks’:-
- bricks for fire pit
- bricks for landscaping
- bricks for sale cheap
- bricks for patio
- bricks for garden
- bricks for garden edging
- bricks for fireplace
- bricks for a fire pit
- bricks for a cure
- bricks for around trees
- bricks for a patio
- bricks for a fireplace
- bricks for a forge
- bricks with holes
- bricks with holes for patio
- bricks with holes home depot
- bricks with names on them
- bricks with holes in them
- bricks with 3 holes
- bricks with rounded edges
- bricks with three holes
- bricks with stars on them
- bricks with grooves
There’s a whole bunch of article ideas right there!
The final word
Developing content for your website doesn’t have to be hard. If you have a plan and use some tools to make your job a little easier, you can make a start generating useful content for your site that’s going to help drive traffic and conversions.