I was at a business development group the other week and at one point the conversation turned to online marketing. It’s a huge subject to get into when you’ve only a few hours to chat but there were some interesting points raised.

The main area of discussion centred on how to attract potential customers to your site, and then how to keep them coming back for more. It’s an important question with no shortage of suggested solutions but I’d argue the answer’s simple: keep your site updated.

So, how does updating your site increase visitors and then keep them coming back?

Loyalty – keep visitors coming back

If you take anything from my ramblings let it be this one point: update your site or lose your visitors.

This vitally important lesson is one that businesses forget time and time again. People happily spend large amounts of time and money getting their site just the way they like it, but then they leave it and get on with something else.

(Note: I am aware of the irony of a man writing about the importance of updating sites when his own site is often out of date. But then this is a lesson I need to learn too!)

If someone visits your site one day, then pops back for a look the following week or even month and nothing’s changed, they won’t come back the next week, or the next month. Why should they? Instead they will look elsewhere for their information fix.

Every visitor is a potential customer, and the more they visit your site the more opportunities you will have to sell your product or service, whether that be a meal at your restaurant or a kitchen fitting.

Traffic – get more visitors

Perhaps you’re not overly concerned about people visiting your site regularly (I’d question why though; if every visitor is a potential customer, then you want repeat customers even more) but there’s one visitor in particular you don’t want to ignore: Google.

Google is always looking for new and relevant content. If you’re the only tapas bar updating your site you’ll already have an advantage over your competitors.

If there’s one question I get asked most by clients, it’s “how do we get to the top of Google”. I’m not an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) expect, and don’t pretend to be, but there are a lot of widely acknowledged principles that improve your ranking. One of them is to regularly update your site.

“Excellent,” I hear you say, “so all we need to do is write some random article, load it with keywords, and add it to a blog every week. Then we’ll be firing up the rankings!” No. And please, for the love of all that’s sacred (and for the good of your business), do not ever do that! Content needs to be relevant, well written and focused or it will do you far more harm than good, both with search engines and humans.

Get a copywriter involved and work out a strategy, at IceBomb we work with Fiona Nicolson of Chameleon Media, who is an experienced writer and communications consultant. I’ll talk more on specifics in the next post but rest assured it doesn’t have to be complicated or cost the earth.

Does this apply to all sites? Yes, if you want visitor loyalty (and the added SEO benefits). The frequency and nature of the updates may vary but the principle does not.

So how do you keep your site updated and build that loyalty? Good question – and one I intend to answer in a few weeks. (There you go, that’s one example for starters!)

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