I spend a lot of time on the internet researching various markets for myself and clients. I have been shocked by how many websites, blogs, and social media accounts of well-respected professionals have been left to languish for not one, not two, but in many cases – several months. As my teenage daughter would say…… OMG seriously????
Believe me, I know how hard it can be to keep your online content updated… I sit at my computer many a Saturday because I’ve gone weeks without a blog post and it eats at me. I’ve been busy doing client work (yay!) but I also know my efforts to market myself for future work will be undermined if I don’t regularly update client, membership and work information, as well as blog and share marketing musings on Twitter and Facebook. Those to whom I am pitching must be impressed when they visit my site and they must see me as current and relevant.
The same goes for you. However, there are many out there who are not paying attention and it is really damaging their personal brand and reputation. And further, it’s costing them business. Jay Jaffe wrote about this in his white paper “A realistic look at lost opportunity costs connected with website content writing delays,” specifically for the legal industry:
The website only becomes top-of-mind when a partner learns that a prospect turned to another law firm for representation when it saw that this newly merged law firm’s website was unimpressive and out of date.
It happens, and it happens a lot. Like the rest of us, lawyers get busy with billable work and put off updating their web bios and practice descriptions, and time flies. The impression it leaves is damaging, but is easily fixed. Even something as simple as having a prior year’s copyright date at the bottom of your site can make a potential client scratch their head. Not keeping current implies that you’re out of touch or worse – that you’re no longer practicing.
In “Outdated Content: How to Consistently Analyze the Quality of Your Copy”, ExpressWriters says, “The number one money sinkhole for many website owners comes from outdated content.” The article goes on to say:
You might think that just because a piece of content isn’t current, it doesn’t generate a whole lot of traffic. This is a huge misconception. Many times, it’s the existing content that causes the majority of your incoming traffic. Lots of people use search engines that direct them to pages that have been existing for a long time and have slowly climbed up the rankings for a particular keyword. When that “old” page gives the user misleading or outdated information the user is left to assume the worst.
In fact, outdated content almost always leads to the reader jumping to one or more of these conclusions:
- That your website is going out of business
- That your customer service must be terrible
- That your company is lackadaisical and just aren’t “with it”
- That your website managers are technologically incompetent
- They’re not good enough for my money
It affects SEO as well. In “Why Fresh Content is Essential to Your Website’s Success,” Content Standard puts it this way, “If visitors aren’t finding new and improved content on your site, why come back? The same goes for search engines. If you aren’t constantly pinging search engines with new content, there’s nothing to entice the spiders to crawl your site and rank your webpages higher than those of your competitors. Publishing and updating content to your site frequently means that search engines will more readily find your pages, potentially resulting in higher rankings and increased viewership.”
There are other types of updates you can make that freshen up your site as well, and keeps up with current aesthetic trends. In “5 Signs Your Website is Outdated,” B2 Community lists the following embarrassing signs that can have a negative impact on your brand:
- Lack of mobile-friendly/responsive design;
- No social media presence;
- Guilty of Poor Content;
- Site is Slow;
- Poor Page Rank.
On the subject of social media, a frequent and consistent approach to sharing content should be undertaken here as well. And don’t forget to let web visitors know about them – you’d be surprised by how many websites I’ve come across who have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, but who neglect to put the icons on their home page so visitors know they’re there!
Bottom line, you absolutely must commit to putting time in each week to review and update your website, and post to your social media accounts. If you don’t have time to do them all, drop the social media accounts altogether because it’s better not to have them there than have them neglected. But your website is non-negotiable. Get your professional information updated, highlight recent accomplishments, and ensure all information is accurate — including the list of team members who work with you (yes, I just came across an agency website with staff profiled who left years ago according to their LinkedIn pages. What a surprise to new clients who may base decisions upon that information).
It’s about more than content, it’s about your reputation.