Here’s a dose of reality. Most sites aren’t updated nearly as often as they should be.

Whether you have a blog, corporate website or e-commerce store, updating your website on a regular basis has many benefits. The updating frequency depends on several of factors and we have provided some suggestions to improve your web site SEO below.

Avoid static HTML webpages

All but the very simplest sites should be built in some type of CMS. The CMS you select will have an enormous influence on editing the site. Some points to look for:

  • Clean separation of content both text and images from styling and layout. The styling and layout should be programmed once the site is built.
  • The ability to edit content in-place rather than always having to find the related content in the control panel.

Use Articles That Search Engine Lions Can Read

Content is living force of a website, in fact it is what the search engines feed on. Sites with very little content tend to struggle in the search results and, in most cases, this could be avoided if there is proper planning in the design stages. For example, don’t use images for text unless you use a CSS background image text replacement technique, and ensure any inline images have descriptive alt tags and titles.

Use URLs for Search Friendliness

The best URLs contain keywords that help illustrate the content of the page. Be careful of some CMS’s that use automatically made numbers and special code for web page URLs. For example: www.searchfriendly.com/26ykq236 vs. www.searchfriendly.com/easy-reading.

Use Big Images

One of many easiest ways to choose your website really standout, look more professional, and increase user engagement is to use big, high-quality, beautiful imagery. The technique is one that’s employed by some of the biggest brands to envoke an emotional response in their users. Remember that a picture is worth a 1000 words, but if your image doesn’t load within the first five seconds you can kiss that goodbye. Ensure your images are optimized and quickly download on multiple screen sizes.

A Word about Fonts

Fonts are a quick and easy way to change the look and feel of your webpage, so that it is more fun, more serious, or more down-to-business. Deciding on a font that fits your company’s style and culture is essential to a look that is professional, modern and distinctive. Bigger fonts should be used for headings and subheadings, titles, and important need-to-know information.

Background is Important

Background objects can be simple or sophisticated, ranging from simply a single color tone that is nice looking, to an image which enticing and mesmerizing. Be careful though. Background images can also date your website and cause readability issues.  Testing background images throughout your development stages on different screen sizes is imperative to ensure a consistant user experience.

Don’t paste content from Word

Pasted content from Word is notorious for coming into CMS systems as a huge, ugly block of HTML CODE that tries to style the HTML to totally match the Word file. In most cases you cannot see this code until you switch your text editors view to “text” or “code view”.

Web site, sizes, line spacing, colors, and so forth, should all be dependent on the site’s CSS stylesheet, not embedded in the HTML code (otherwise known as inline css styling). This ensures the websites pages avoid extra bloat, allows the style and branding to stay consistant and allows you to make quicker style changes to the whole website as opposed to editing each page’s code separately.

Most publishers have some kind of “paste from Word” function, or at least “paste as plain text”, which is what you should use if you must paste content directly from Word. Barring these, you can opt to paste your text directly into Windows Notepad or Notepad++ to strip out the Word HTML code and then paste this into your website (Mac users can use BBedit to strip out the code in the same way). The most reliable approach is to insert your content as plain text, and then apply all the formatting (identifying headings, prospect lists, etc.) using the editor’s tools. Or, even better, use a writer-oriented markup language, such as Textile or Markdown, and a system that automatically converts that markup into HTML.

Consider Publishing in Textile or Markdown

The best approach, when you’re creating lots of web-focused content, is to use a different markup language–one that is designed to be automatically converted into HTML.

The two most popular markup different languages are Markdown and Textile. The good thing about these markup languages for writers is that they are much easier to write than code, and so they can be automatically translated to HTML with high reliability. The idea is to realise a minimal way to provide just enough structural information to stipulate the HTML which should be made.

If you are a small to medium company and don’t have the resources in-house to manage your web site then outsourcing your website updating is a good choice. It’s not free, it will have a cost, but if you outsource this task to a professional company then the long term benefits are way more than the initial investment. Before making a decision on who to outsource make sure that they have an easy to understand pricing scheme and that they can show you real examples from companies that are using their website updating services.

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