You spent thousands of dollars outsourcing the design and development of your beautiful shiny new website …or you had capable people in house who developed it. Either way, it cost you and your company valuable resources, i.e., time and money; and no doubt plenty of blood, sweat and tears. From planning and development to developing new (or migrating existing) content and assets, creating a new website is an extensive and laborious process. The sigh of relief when a new site is finally launched can be heard around every beltway across America. So is it time now for that chaise lounge on the beach with an umbrella in your drink? Sure, why not, you’ve earned it; but whatever you do, don’t just “set it and forget it”.
I’ve seen too many website owners fall into the trap of building a new site without content development strategy, much less putting strategy into practice. I hear it all the time: “Why do I need more content on my website? I’ve got plenty. Besides, nobody reads that stuff anyway.” Au contraire, mon ami; look in your web analytics to see exactly what your visitors are reading.
I have two edicts about search engine optimization:
- Search engine optimization is not an event – it is a process.
- There is no such thing as SEO Magic Pixie Dust to sprinkle on your website that will get you to the top of the search engines’ results pages. Rankings and visibility require continual effort.
It’s Always about the Content
What will continually attract visitors and search engines to your website is not one event, or sprinkling keywords here and there. What will attract visitors and the search engines to your site is lots of unique and relevant content. In order to maintain and enhance your relevance, you should continually publish unique content to your website. At a minimum, I recommend publishing at least one page of content a month. Although, why would you do only the bare minimum? Publish at least two pages each month. It’s not as hard as you think, and the material is probably already right under your nose. Publish and archive all your press releases, client testimonials and press articles to your site. Do you publish an e-newsletter? Don’t just send the e-newsletter to your subscriber list; be sure to archive it on your site as well. If simply posting this content resulted in one more sale of one of your products… well, you can do the ROI math.
Once all this content publishing becomes a matter of course, you might want to kick it up a notch and start a blog. I caution you, however… there are good reasons and bad reasons to publish a blog (hmmm… seems like a topic for yet another posting). If you intend to publish a blog for the right reasons, you’ll need to dedicate the appropriate resources to it. Frequent, scheduled posting with relevant content will almost assure you of returning visitors. Sketchy frequency guarantees little if any returning visitors …well, perhaps your mother.
A Tale of Two Sites
Consider two websites competing for the same visitors: yours and your competitor, Brand X. Let’s assume three things about these two websites: first, they are both visually appealing and user-friendly sites; second, they are both well-optimized websites with equal amounts of unique content; and third, they have the same inbound link reputation. Each time the search engine spiders visit your site and see that you haven’t published anything new, the spider determines that it isn’t necessary to return as often as it used to. Before long you’ll lose your relevance, and then your rankings and visibility …but even more important, your visitors.
The moral of the tale is this: don’t set it and forget it, because dollars to donuts says that Brand X won’t.