“How often should I update my website?”
It’s a fair question with a wishy-washy reply, “It depends.” A whole university’s website will be updated every day. There’s too much going on.
You don’t want your website to grow too stagnant. That’s why you’re asking this question.
As things change
You should update your website as things change. Do you have new contact information? Do you have a new program? Are there new requirements for students or were you just ranked or accredited? This is when you should change your site. Make it part of your process.
Get your content people together whenever something changes and determine with them if this goes on the website or in another means of communication. Create a workflow on how to ensure nothing is forgotten – especially your website.
Update your website at least twice a year
Things change quickly, and if all else fails – update your site twice a year.
A lot can happen over the course of six months. Your organization, department, unit, or work circumstances change all the time. It’s important to reflect new information on your website.
Routinely audit your website’s content twice a year to ensure it’s accurate. This is the very least you should do. Put it on your calendar. Schedule enough time to really study your content’s accuracy, and schedule enough time to edit the content. Use analytics to measure effectiveness and make intelligent adjustments.
Events, news, blogs, and other timely content
Timely content should take most of your attention on your website. This is where we get into “it depends” again. How many new events does your unit host? How often do you have news releases, blog posts, or other stories? Do you have webinars? All of this will determine how often you log in to make edits or add new content.
This content is relevant to the time of year and the ebbs and flows of your organization. Create a calendar ahead of time to start planning. You should plan the following:
- Date of event, news, or story
- When you need to start putting content together
- When you need publish the content to the website
- When, where, and how you’ll promote the new content – and for how long after it’s live
Don’t wait until late November to start putting content together for an event that is held on December 1. Plan ahead. Have the content created well in advance, publish it, and promote it.
Many sites include feeds from social media accounts. I’m not opposed to this. But remember that social media is meant to be social. Your social media feed isn’t for your website. It’s for your audience of followers looking for relevant information. In many cases, information from your website or other communications flow into your social media.
Don’t give up
Maintaining websites isn’t as easy as it sounds. Content management systems have spoiled us with all the bells and whistles. Updating your website’s content takes planning and the resources to execute. Assign someone who will take true ownership of the site and its content. Work with your content contributors, and your website will be better for it.