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The One Mistake That Makes Your Customers Run for the Hills (And How to Avoid It)

By Erin  |   Business Website Tips | Website Copywriting

outdated content

We've all been there: you need to buy a product or find some information online. You do a search, click into a brand's website, and find that it hasn't been updated since 2005.

At that point, you probably leave the website. And you may never come back.

You're not alone.

According to Mashable, that's what most users do when faced with irrelevant (or out-of-date) content. They're outta there—and probably not coming back.

So, how can you avoid being that website—the one that's driving all the customers away? What can you do to keep your content relevant and keep your customers coming back for more?

We have a few ideas:

1. Identify time-sensitive content as early as possible.

The easiest way to do this is to have you, your staff, or (hopefully) your web writer identify any time-sensitive content they add to a page—noting it in one place (usually a spreadsheet) that's easy to reference after the website goes live.

If you already have a live website, it's also pretty easy to have a detail-oriented person go through the website and create that spreadsheet based on your existing pages.

Time-sensitive content may include:

  1. Products or product features that will change over time
  2. Phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, and URLs
  3. Special offers that will expire
  4. Prices

All of these things might change over time. If you have them all lined up nicely in a spreadsheet or list, when the time comes to change your prices, instead of having to go through every page on your site (and possibly missing some), you'll know exactly where that time-sensitive content lives and where you need to go to change it. 

This will save your team lots of future time and hassles, as well as keeping your content relevant for users.

2. Wherever possible, leave time sensitive content out.

Instead of including the email address of your top customer service rep at the bottom of every support page, put in a link to your contact page. That way if that customer service rep ever leaves the company, you'll only have to change his or her email address on one page (the contact page), not ten or thirty or hundreds.

3. Set a schedule

Schedule time regularly to check in on your content and keep it relevant and up-to-date. During that scheduled time you should:

  1. Check in on time-sensitive content (does your phone number need to be updated? Has that special limited time offer expired?)
  2. Check your analytics to identify pages that are performing well and those that aren't performing so well
  3. For pages that aren't performing well, take some time to assess the content (is anything out-of-date or otherwise irrelevant?)

Strategize before you publish
We get it. Creating content is hard—and keeping it up can be even harder, especially if you don't go into your website launch with a plan. That's why we recommend investing in content strategy, which can save you money and hassles down the road.

The good news is that simple steps like this—identifying potential content edits before you launch your website—can make a huge difference in your website's (and brand's) professionalism and perception online.

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