How much time should you spend to keep your website’s content fresh?
That’s the good question from one participant in my workshop with Diane Levin at New England ACR’s annual conference a few weeks ago. Diane and I offered up our opinions then, and I’ve continued to ponder the question in order to answer it more thoroughly here.
How can you decide the “right” amount of time to invest in keeping your site attractive to search engines by creating fresh content? I’ve whittled the deciding factors down to these four:
- Your target market’s needs: The market(s) you target for your practice—and thus your website’s target readership—may have expectations about the frequency of new material. Markets that include news junkies, information gatherers, and blog readers may prefer several new articles or items on your website each week. Markets that include people who are super-busy may prefer more occasional updates or articles that are extremely brief. Not sure what your markets expect? Ask them; find a few representative voices in your market and just ask.
- Your time availability: It seems obvious that the amount of time you invest in keeping your ADR website fresh is influenced by your own workload and other demands on your time. It may be less obvious how to determine the right balance between amount of time for online marketing and offline efforts. Since I take up this question in my forthcoming book, Making Mediation Your Day Job™, I’ll refrain from going into more detail here.
- Your own work rhythms: Some folks do well by designating a specific time each week to dedicate to a task, while others prefer to work on tasks like these less frequently but in longer, concentrated chunks. Figure out your own marketing rhythm and integrate content updating into that rhythm. I see a lot of new bloggers dive in, burn themselves out by writing tons of content (because someone said they had to), and stop blogging completely within a few months. If your website is part of your marketing strategy, pace yourself.
- The current state of your site: If your site is currently up to date with content, has had a recent overhaul, or is one you already regularly refresh, then you may need to invest less weekly time to keep it fresh and interesting to your market. If you haven’t updated your site in months or years, then you may need to invest more time to ramp up your refresh rate over the period of a few months.
I’ve been tracking my own time on website and blog maintenance and updating for the past six months and it averages to about 1-2 hours per week. Some weeks are so packed with clients or business travel that I can’t take time for article writing, and in those instances I’ll usually put a few extra hours of marketing time into the week prior, creating content I can release during the busy stretches.
What other questions do you have about this? Leave a comment and I’ll follow up.
Copyright © 2007 by Tammy Lenski.