Once every ________. You kind of hoped that I would be able to give you a clear cut answer here, right? Sorry. The answer is: It depends. On what? Glad you asked!
Over the years, I have been involved in creating websites for and advising hundreds of companies on their websites. Some are built to be updated frequently (but never are), some are built not to require any real updating, while a few are updated frequently as planned.
Make Sure Your Information Is Accurate
At the very least, all information on your website should be accurate. For a small business with a website that typically only spans a few pages, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Sadly we often see many small businesses with old and incorrect contact details, sales information or more listed. And it hurts their sales.
Think about the store with the incorrect opening hours listed. Or the take-out restaurant with the wrong menu and phone number. It hurts your business considerably when information is wrong because it instantly decreases trust, which we know is tremendously important.
Keeping information current doesn’t require that many updates, and for most small businesses that’s exactly right. You need another marketing channel, but don’t have the time to actively spend managing it. So just update your site when things change.
If You Have a Blog: Update or Kill It
Many agencies used to for many years talk clients into having a blog or news feed clearly visible. Sadly, all this meant was putting outdated information front and center. Just think about how many small business website blogs you have seen welcoming you to their new website, four years ago.
If you decide to have a blog (which can do wonders for your marketing efforts!) make sure you actually commit to it and keep it updated on a regular schedule—be it weekly, monthly etc.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t have the time to manage a blog. It’s not the end of the world, and I have written about that before. Just kill it on the site and see your website instantly become much more successful for you.
Do Iterative Updates Instead of Overhauls
Let me tell you the secret of successfully managing your website. It’s doing smaller, iterative updates over overhauls. Instead of spending a big sum of money to re-design and develop your site all over again every few years, consider frequent smaller updates.
This gives you a chance to spend some of the money investing in growing your website too, and not just having to re-create things. Iterative updates are incredibly valuable, and if you use them, you’ll find yourself with a much better website.
Definitive Answer: It still depends…but not as often as you think.
The best I can do with a definitive answer to the question is that it still depends on a number of factors, but in most cases, it’s not as often as you think.
If you work at making sure the information is presented in a timeless way, and that it doesn’t feel outdated, then you don’t need to worry about updating your site as often as you may fear.
But hey, do give it a thought at least once a month will you?