'Prioritise' is the watchword when updating your web site.
How often should you update your web site? Sounds a simple question, doesn't it? And, in the fast-moving world of the internet, so it should be. If only it were that easy.
Few organisations can afford the army of 'webmasters' that it takes to keep a web site totally up-to-date, so no matter how meticulous you are in maintaining your site, the result must always be a compromise. The watchword is therefore 'prioritise'.
Below are some questions to ask yourself about your web site. These will help you to decide your content priorities. For example, pricing information needs to updated on an ad-hoc basis but your financial information might only need changing every six months. If your organisation is not already on the web, these questions should also provide some help when planning.
What are the functions of your site? Do you want to provide static information such as contact details or product/financial information, dynamic information such as pricing or personal loan illustrations, e-business or selling on the net, education or entertainment?
What is the target audience of your site? Are users internet savvy or do they have little knowledge or experience of the net? Or both? In other words, do you really need the latest gizmos on your pages?
Who will be responsible for the maintenance of your site? Even if you outsource your maintenance, you will still require an in-house resource to manage the information collation and flow.
What software tools are available to help you manage your site?
Once these questions have been answered, look at your competitors' sites.
Think about how yours could be improved. The beauty of the internet as a medium is that content, and the ways of using and presenting it, can always be quickly adapted and updated.
To sum up, there's no easy answer but, if you first prioritise your site's requirements and put in place a method for updating it, the chances are that it will be your site, and not the competition's, that will be most up-to-date and useful to your customers.
Hamish Kuzminski is UK public relations manager at Lotus Development.