Is my Website finished?
It’s the question that you’ll ask yourself when you’re building a website, or getting one built for you.
The short answer is . . .
The long answer is . . .
Maybe . . . for now . . . but not it’s not finished finished.
You website is like your shop window to the world, it may contain the items that are of interest today, but you’ll change your product range, you’ll change the way you want to promote things. And even if you don’t actually sell physical products, maybe you are a hotel, or maybe you sell your own skills and services, things will change. You’ll redecorate, the local amenities will change, you’ll find new services to sell and promote.
Another thing worth remembering is legalities, sometimes mail order legislation will change, or other things (remember the European Legislation which required all websites using cookies to inform you of that fact?) Also text explaining that which seemed important at the time (“New laws introduced in 2005 say . . . ” would look terribly out of day today), and the wording may need updated to keep your website current.
All of this means that your website is going to end up out of date, and is going to need to be updated.
In the late 90’s, early 2000’s, lots of websites marked themselves as “Under Construction”, to let visitors know that they weren’t finished and there was more to come.
But really, that should be taken for granted, and is mainly taken as that these days. When Amazon adds a new category (Selling Cars or whatever), visitors aren’t confused (“Wait a second, they didn’t used to sell cars, what’s going on, they should have warned me their product list wasn’t totally complete!”), they take it for granted that more and more options will be added to websites. In fact most people visit websites on a regular basis for their new content and features (imagine a news website which never updated?).
So how often should I change my site?
Well often enough to keep it up to date seems the obvious answer, if you release a new catalogue of products every 6 months, then change it every six months. But the important thing is, to schedule when you’re going to do it, or at least when you’re going to check if it needs to be updated. If you’ve a list of team members on there, how long do you want new ones missing off the list, or ones who have left remaining on there? Maybe your colours have changed, maybe your site was cool six months ago, but looks hideously outdated now (some design trends go out of style as quickly as they come into it).
Set a schedule, mark it in your diary, and then keep to it. Check what’s changed, and get it updated.
Who should update my site?
If you built the site yourself, then the answer is obviously you. However if you’ve contracted a supplier to build you a site, then the answer isn’t quite as clear.
Most good web design companies will support you, at least for the first year, and possibly afterwards with some kind of support contract. This will allow updates to be made on a regular basis, usually free of charge. However, some companies (usually in an effort to give you the best price upfront) will skip the support part of the contract, and would charge you for any updates. Yet others will charge you for an entire new site if you want it updated (fortunately these are few and far between).
If in doubt ask whoever did the website for you, they should be only too happy to let you know.
Unless your website is extremely simple (like an online business card), it’s going to need updated, probably regularly. Set a schedule to check if anything needs updated, exactly the same way a store will check their shop window to see if everything is up to date and fresh. Your website will serve you best if it doesn’t look outdated and isn’t full of inaccurate information.