Writing News & Blogs – Update Your Website The Easy Way

Keeping Your Website Up-to-date

There’s nothing worse than a website that looks out of date. Sites whose last news entry or blog post is dated 2008 really make a site look unloved and somewhat dilapidated.   Conversely, a website whose information is bang up to date gives the impression that the site is alive, vibrant and valued. When you consider that many people will gain their first impression of your company from your website this is a very serious issue.

I was moved to write this article by 2 clients that I’ve recently been dealing with. Both were using our fantastic, cutting edge content management system (sorry about the shameless plug!), one wanted the news function activated and one wanted a blog installed.

On discussing the issue of relevancy and keeping these areas up-to-date, both clients were sat here committing to between 1 and 2 hours per week to keep their site up to date. This is great in principle but realistically we’re all very busy and that kind of commitment would soon wain leaving their stunning, cutting edge, content managed website (there I go again!) to quickly become out of date.

In my professional option it’s far better to put aside 30 minutes a month and approach this task strategically than trying to dedicate time you don’t have to updating the world in respect of your business. Unless you have the resource to do it, there’s no real need to update more than once a month, after all it’s not like we’re running the BBC news website!

So, here are my tips to strategically updating your website using only 30 minutes per month.

1. Diarise your time: It’s a pretty common phenomenon to commit to things that you never get round to. By booking 30 minutes per month in your diary for the next 12 months, you’re far more likely to achieve your goal.

2. Don’t be too precious about your material. Obviously it needs to be well written and interesting but you can write blog articles and news about pretty much anything – here are some ideas

- Something that recently happened in your company
- A new client that’s recently come on board (like a case study)
- A story about something that has happened to a client
-  Something that’s recently happened in your industry
- A comment on a news story that is relevant to your industry (search BBC News for such an article)

3. Focus your article on your audience, so if you’re writing for the benefit of business owners, keep this in mind when writing the articles, write professionally and remember what drives them. If you’re writing for the general public then a more chatty tone of voice may be appropriate.

4. Feel free to use someone else’s material! So long as you reference it correctly and fairly this should be fine. There are many sources where you can pick up free content for your website (see our Free Website Content article).

5. Finally, fresh content has a search engine pay off, in general the more words on your site the better your chances of getting listed in the search engines so bear this in mind when writing an article. If you like pick a key phrase that relates to your business and the article and see how many times you can repeat it without making the article sound like it’s just been written for keywords.

NB This is a critical point, your primary focus is on people that read it – search engines are important but if your website text gives the impression that you are illiterate then your website will give a negative impression of your company.

6. Get yourself a guest writer. As business people we’re all looking for publicity so to be listed on someone else’s website (especially if you’re offering a link to their own website) is beneficial to them and to you as it gives you a free and easy article – a win win!

So there you have it – follow these steps and you will be writing focussed, search engine friendly, customer centric articles quickly and easily using just 30 minutes per month. As a great meerkat once said…”Simples”.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 7:36 am  |  Website Strategy