A guide to keeping your website updated

A guide to keeping your website updated

In general there are two approaches to keeping your website updated: the first is general housekeeping to keep it looking fresh, the other tends to be a more radical appraisal of redesign or relaunch.

However I thought it might be interesting, as well as these two, to look at a couple of more nuanced approaches to maintaining a website. After all, despite the ever-changing options of programming technology – not to mention how design approaches change – websites are invariably online in their original form for several years at a time.

Designing, building and uploading content to a site from scratch also tend to be massive jobs from a staffing and project management perspective. So the ground-up reboot is not to be undertaken lightly.

So, what can be done to keep sites looking fresh… how radical do you need to be? And how do you appraise all of this?

Here are my thoughts…

Keeping your website updated: Jamie Aston’s blog

 

1. Keep your website content fresh

The best way of keeping your website updated is by following the simplest rule of the web today: creating new, relevant content. Simple – but invariably time consuming. It pays off though: site visitors can instantly tell that you’re open for business, things are happening, you have a new service or at very least a point of view on issues in your industry.

Despite the myriad responsibilities of social media and marketing today, you only really need a single message a week to ensure the site is fresh. In fact that can be as simple as a single Instagram post of something that happened at your workplace or business that is then shared across different media.

In addition, highlighting services or offerings that are upcoming can go one step further and indicate that you’re not merely in business and ticking over but have ambitious plans for the future.

The same goes for taking down dated content. Be ruthless: when old offers aren’t relevant or are suddenly out of date, remove those pages without hesitation.

Keeping your website updated: Ginger Comms’ blog

Case Studies

Keeping your website updated: Aquila Holdings

 

2. Building on a flexible approach from the outset

Familiar with the notion of a ‘wireframe’? If not – it’s pretty simple – it’s the base, skeleton structure of a website.

When we design the wireframes of a site we are conscious where key parts of the layout will be flexible. The idea here is that we can then allow the site to act like a ‘billboard’ for promotions, new projects or just a visual overhaul.

This nuanced flexibility can then all be within the context of the overall look and feel of the website. So the type, colours and menu remain unchanged. But key visual parts of the site such as header, or even the order key parts of the page appear in, can remain entirely editable.

This gives huge scope for the site to feel bold and exciting to regular users and is a process of change that requires almost no input from designers and developers. As new imagery and copy becomes available, quickly single pages can spawn entire new sections of the site that feel curated, interesting and fresh.

Keeping your website updated: Bourlet

Case Studies:

 

Keeping your website updated: Alpenglow Ski

 

3. A gradual ‘design and build evolution’

Of course, just swapping photos and copy in and out can only go so far. There comes a point when a casual edit, fresh blog post or expanded photo gallery is insufficient for the level of change a business invariably encounters fairly regularly.

An obvious example of this would be when a major new service is offered that requires a new custom web page. We would suggest this always has a fresh approach, perhaps expanding the design principles of the website to better suit what you’re doing. This kind of project invariably means that the website increases in size exponentially to cover the new service as it can mean building an entirely new section. In turn, this gives your business the ability to begin ‘telling the world’ about the new service – with a great place to read all about the work you’re doing.

Another good example we encountered recently is the idea of adding a new kind of page as part of a major marketing push. In a project for The Artworks illustration agency we created a new page template to hel them reach their core client base. Each of these pages then had a curated selection of expertise within each field.

The new section of the site, aimed at advertising agencies, design businesses and book publishers includes project galleries, testimonials and a gorgeous image feed to scroll through.

Keeping your website updated: The Artworks

Case Studies:

diamond jewellery website design

Keeping your website updated: Taylor & Hart

 

4. When is it the time for radical change?

The standard reason for a ground-up redesign in recent years has been the move from standard-width websites to entirely responsive designs that adapt to every device. While that important transition has already been undertaken by many businesses, surprisingly numerous high profile examples remain… as anyone filling in a self-assessment tax return recently might have discovered.

But, back to corporate projects…

Before embarking on an entirely new site, it’s key to know what you are doing and who you are reaching. Sourcing some background information on the best ways of talking to your customers is always very useful. To do this we’d always suggest some sort of user research, formal or informal. This can then inform whether you need to update – and what brief to give your design team.

There are, generally, a couple of key reasons to re-boot a website:

A re-brand
With a bold new brand, the world is at your feet and it’s now or never for an online overhaul. Our work for Taylor & Hart, detailed below, is a great example of this sort of project. New values, products and approach meant that it was the perfect moment to re-work the website from scratch and that’s what we did. It’s one of our favourite projects in recent years.

Time and tide
Sometimes there is no rational reason to re-boot your web presence. Put simply – the old website sucks, it’s time for a fresh lick of paint. We spoke with property guru Jonathan Crown  about the best way to reach his audience online. Our conclusion was that in the real estate market, having a bold, modern approach had become his industry standard. Nothing less would do. More details of our project for Jonathan are below.

Design for Brexit Britain

Keeping your website updated: Jonathan Crown Property Services

 

Case Studies:

 

Let us help you

Why not arrange a meeting to discuss the best way of presenting your business online…

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Lead photo on this post by Alejandro Escamilla