I believe this article applies mostly to people operating a small business. Especially if what you do on the web is primarily a business endeavor for you. This type of question is always one of the many you face regarding completing webwork on your website.
There are situations that this article could also apply to personal endeavors as well. I’ve helped people in the past get a personal website or blog out there. There’s a big difference between making modifications and additions to a website and building it from scratch.
Regardless of which the endeavor is, hopefully this article will make sense to you.
To do, or not to do, that is the question
Let’s look at what I believe is the primary factor involved here – your time.
Website development (website creation, website updates, and so on) takes time. The bottom line usually boils down to what YOUR time is worth. I’ve been in the web business since 1998. One thing I am sure of is that nearly all of the successful business owners I have met and dealt with over that time have been focused on running and growing their businesses. So they’re focused on what THEY do. Not focused on what WE at CharlesWorks do. The successful business people recognize that we are able to get things done much more quickly and efficiently that they would be able to.
The learning curve to become a web developer can be steep. That is not the same thing as modifying existing work on websites.
To learn how to make changes to an existing site can easily be taught. We at CharlesWorks teach individuals employed by our clients (as well as our clients directly) how to perform such tasks on a very regular basis. However, I always warn folks that if they must engage in the practice of logging in to the website’s dashboard and doing changes on a regular basis. Otherwise they will not retain their ability.
Part of the reason for having to make changes on a regular basis is because of the nature of the software used to operate websites. There are fairly regular software updates for security and functionality reasons. So when they walk away from it for a year and come back, it is no surprise that they do not even recall how to log back in to make changes.
I think about looking at the common sense aspect of knowing when to hire someone. While I would think of painting a small bathroom ceiling, I do not have the time or tools or inclination to paint my entire house. I know painters who I would hire to come in and do this who can accomplish the task much more quickly than I could. And trust me, it would look better.
Anyone can ready a book on brain surgery. It’s another thing to just try it. Not that I think that website development is brain surgery. But attempts had it by many of my web clients have certainly caused them some severe headaches.
Easing the Pain
What I would like to think that we at CharlesWorks do is ease the pain of having to have work done by us. Since I started this business we have performed web work and charge for it by the minute. That means that if a web task takes CharlesWorks staff 17 minutes to do, our web client is billed only 17/60 of our hourly fee. That makes it much less expensive to get those little things done.
We encourage you to just get the work done – whether it is by us or by you. We want you to look a good as possible on the web. Every piece of information on your website – including outdated or erroneous materials – gets seen and indexed by the search engines. Those search engines then send folks to see all of your content – which doesn’t help you if it’s inaccurate.
Do I Need to Update my Website Regularly?
If you are running a blog or informational site that you are posting content to on a regular basis, then obviously people are going to notice if you haven’t updated in a while. So you ARE going to want to add new articles or posts or informational stories at least once a month. More certainly doesn’t hurt in this situation.
However, most websites are what I have always referred to as brochure sites. They are your online brochure. I know of sites that folks have not changed up any of the web material for many years. And those sites rank high in the search engines. So changing material does not automatically mean higher search engine placement.
So, for most websites, my answer to regular content updates is an emphatic NO. There are lots of spam messages out there from website developers saying you must update content on websites or you will be penalized by Google and Bing and Yahoo! and other search engines. In my experience this is just not true. They are usually trying to sell you something you just don’t need.
Whenever you have any questions regarding your web presence, just contact us at CharlesWorks. We have been here helping people since 1998.