How and Why to Keep Your Website Fresh
Want to keep visitors coming back to your site?
Keep it fresh.
Stale content, outdated site technology, and passé design can cause visitors to move on in search of more timely information, a faster-loading site, or a site that doesn’t look like a time capsule from a bygone era.
Freshness can help you earn new visitors, too. Frequently updated content gets crawled more often by search-engine bots, so your site is less likely to get buried by newer items in search results. Keeping up with the latest technical standards, like fast-loading pages and mobile-friendly design, can help your site’s search results performance, too.
1. Keep Website Content Fresh with a content Calendar
Content is what visitors come to your site for, whether it’s new blog posts, photos, videos, or products. If you don’t already have a content calendar—a schedule for creating and adding new content to your site—start by making one.
Your content calendar can be as simple as reminders in your existing Google calendar or as comprehensive as a WordPress plugin like Editorial Calendar that lets you schedule, edit, and publish your WordPress posts easily.
2. Bring older content Up to Date
Of course, the more new content you publish, the bigger your archive of older content will be. Don’t let that material get stale. You can get more views for your older content by linking to it in some of your new posts.
You can also use the related content feature in the free version of the Jetpack WordPress plugin to find and display related posts at the bottom of each new post you create.
Your older content may need updating to keep it reliable and relevant. Information changes, links get broken, and you may have new insights to add to your previous posts. If your archived posts number in the hundreds or thousands, keeping it all updated may seem like an impossible task.
That’s why it’s a best practice to start your update program with what’s called your “cornerstone content”—the best performing and most relevant articles on your site. Build reminders into your content calendar to update these pieces every 6 to 12 months.
Once you’ve got that cornerstone content up to date, add reviews and updates to your content calendar for your non-blog content, too, like your About and Contact pages.
3. Repurpose your older Content
Let’s say your foodie blog has an old post about sous vide cooking basics. Now that sous vide cooking is trendy, think about how you can repackage the information in that old post to grow your audience. You could turn the basic steps into an infographic or slide deck to share on social media. You could also create a video based on your post to share on social media and YouTube.
Got a bunch of short posts about sous vide tips and tools? Try combining them into one big new post. Or maybe now’s the time to put all that information into an eBook that your visitors can download if they sign up for your newsletter.
4. Keep an Eye on keyword data
Check your Google Search Console data to see what keywords are bringing visitors to your site. If your content doesn’t already contain the most popular keywords your site visitors are using, it’s time to revise some of your posts to include those keywords—where they’re a natural fit. You can also use those keywords as a list of potential topics for new content.
5. Update your Website Design
It’s not only your content that you want to keep fresh and interesting. The appearance of your site will get stale over time, too—especially to frequent visitors. It may also be time for a web design makeover if:
- Your site doesn’t look good on mobile browsers. This is huge. If your site is hard to read or navigate on a smartphone screen, you need to make finding a mobile-friendly theme your top priority.
- You’re rebranding your blog or business and have a new logo, tagline, and colors.
- You’re adding a lot of new functionality to your site (a blog, an online store, online courses) and you want to visually cue visitors in to the fact that you’ve made big changes.
The easiest way to update the look of your site is with a new theme. You can buy a theme or find one for free. HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting and Gator Website Builder plans include access to free themes. And we’ve recommended some of our favorite WordPress themes here on the blog.
Before you make any live changes to your site theme, install a few themes and preview them to see how they look with your content. Before you activate your new theme, back up your site in case you need to revert to your old theme while you make some adjustments to the new one.
6. Upgrade your Website Functionality
We’ve already mentioned mobile-friendliness as a website must-have. As a site owner, you also get to stay on top of SEO best practices, tools like schema.org markup for rich results in search, and your site’s performance compared to the benchmarks set by Google, so your site doesn’t get left in the dust by newer, faster alternatives.
Yoast SEO is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress sites, because it delivers frequent updates and provides lots of user education. To help you format rich search results for your content, All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets lets you build markups without coding and then preview the results before you publish.
As for speed, it’s smart to regularly test your most important pages for mobile and desktop speed using Google’s Test My Site and Page Speed Insights tools. Each test will give you a score and detailed suggestions on how to speed up your site if you need to make improvements.
Is It Time to Update Your Website?
Together, these regular updates and checks will help you keep up with your visitors’ expectations for up-to-date content, visual interest, and a site that meets current performance standards.
When did you last freshen up your site? What do you plan to update next?