How Often Should I Update My Web Site? Pt 2

by Tom Snyder on Jul 13, 1999

(originally published when Trivera was named Websight Solutions)

Last month we talked about how to tell what parts of your site need to be updated. This month we’ll tell you how to find out specifically how often you need to make those updates. But we’ll do so by taking a diversion into another media form, the world of radio.

I spent over a decade in Milwaukee radio, programming the music for local stations WEZW, WLTQ and WZTR. And even though the Web didn’t come along till after I left radio, the lessons I learned there are relevant to updating content for your Web site.

There were two ways for a radio station to determine what songs to play, as well as when and how often to play them. The unsuccessful stations would guess. The winning stations did the research to find out.

At the stations I worked at, we used research to determine just about everything we put on the air. Through research, we knew what our audience wanted to hear. We knew how often we had a new group of listeners tuning in and how long they’d stay, so we knew how often we needed to repeat songs so everyone could hear them, but not hear the same songs repeated too often. We also knew when it was time to stop playing the songs the audience was tired of.

So we were able to rely on research to determine which of our “content” we needed to update and how often we needed to update it.

Your Web site needs to be updated the same way. You need to know who your audience is, how often they come to your site, what they want to see changed and what they want to see remain the same each time they go there.
Webtrends and Analog reports can tell you how many people are coming to your site, where they came from and where they’re going once they get there. Unfortunately, those reports can’t tell you how often your visitors come back for repeat visits.

The way we figured it out in radio is the same way you can figure it out on your Web site… research. The easiest way to do research on the Web is to do a survey.

With an online survey you can find out all sorts of information. You can ask as many questions as you want, but keep in mind the more you ask of the visitor, the more he or she will expect in return. You’ll need to offer an incentive to entice people to fill out your survey, remembering the longer the survey, the bigger the incentive. It can either be a smaller prize for everyone or a large prize awarded to a random respondent.

Here at Websight Solutions, we’ve begun to offer our clients Web-based research services to help them determine not just the frequency of return visits after the site has been up, but also even the most basic information about the look, feel, navigation and content requirements that will meet visitor expectations before the site even goes to our development team. Watch for more information on that in next month’s feature article.

Return visits to your Web site increase a customer’s bond with your company, and the likelihood that a potential client will do business with you. Next month, we’ll also look into ways for you to increase the frequency and speed of those repeat visits.

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