Outdated news and product data on your site are sure to turn off potential customers. If you want to create a positive experience for your customer while they're visiting your company's Web site, you must include timely information. But most sites' content is either completely outdated or simply too stale. The first problem is easy to solve: update your site! What if you visited a travel site that advertised "New Trips for 1997"? You wouldn't be very impressed, would you? Get rid of those old dates and add the latest news on your company.
The second problem is not quite as severe as outdated information. Stale sites have no dates on them. Of course this makes the site easier to maintain, but it also invites questions from visitors. Visitors will want to know what is new about your company and products or services. If all you ever post on your Web site is your business address and telephone number, you should have just bought a Yellow Pages listing instead!
So, we've determined that you need to keep your site up-to-date with your company's latest news and product information. Just how often should your site be updated? That all depends on the type of business you're running. As a general rule, you should update your site whenever you send out a press release, add new products or services, land a big client, or receive recognition from community or business organizations.
Is it possible to keep your site fresh without going broke? Of course! If, like most small businesses, you can't afford a dedicated Web manager, try these three simple and inexpensive ways to make sure your customers receive the most current information from your company's site. As always, there are several (more expensive) alternatives to the ideas offered here, but these are excellent starting points.
Buy a file transfer protocol (FTP) program that has a scheduling feature, such as FTP Voyager. This program allows you to configure it to automatically upload pages to your Web server. The original purpose of this feature was to avoid slow data transfer times by uploading Web pages during off-peak hours. But you can also use it to post pages that must be updated on a specific date and time. For example, you may have a sale on your site that ends at midnight on Sept. 30. You do not want the sale to be advertised after that time. Simply create a new version of the Web page (without the sale information) and then schedule your FTP program to post that page at midnight on Sept. 30. Now you don't have to worry about confusing your customers with outdated sale information.