You probably wish creating your website was a one-and-done task – something to push live and cross off your to-do list once and for all. It may be easier that way, but it would be less exciting and certainly less practical.
Much like the rest of your content marketing strategy, managing your website is a journey. And with changes in your business, technology or user expectations, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the art of website maintenance. In doing so, you may find that content is an area where your website fluctuates often.
Your website content is key to driving a successful user experience and sharing your brand story. Fresh content is one of the best ways to optimize SEO, generate leads and create customer loyalty. Then there’s fresh content’s evil twin: outdated content. It’s the bad apple that ruins brand reputation and scares off leads.
Fortunately, there are signs and symptoms to look out for when performing a content audit of your website that will tell you when it’s time for a tune-up.
14 Signs and Symptoms of Outdated Content
1. You haven’t added new content in a month
If you’ve read even one of our guides on content strategy, then you know how important consistency is to a robust online presence. Posting often maintains your relevance not just within search engines but among your audience and industry.
If you’re not using a content calendar to keep up with posting schedules or content updates, your website content will lose its significance if it hasn’t already.
2. Your site navigation is confusing
Digital is the name of the game, and everyone’s moving online, so you need to do what you can to keep up.
Updating your website to stay on top of usability trends is a great place to start. Usability is essential to UX/UI, and good UX/UI is part of what makes a great website.
If your site isn’t intuitive or users struggle to find what they’re looking for, your bounce rate will shoot through the roof.
3. You can’t recall when you last updated the homepage
Some argue that the homepage is the most crucial page on a website. That may or may not be accurate, but your homepage is, at the very least, the focal point of your website – the foundation, if you will. It’s where users get the company snapshot they need and can navigate to each page. It’s home base.
That’s why your homepage needs to change whenever there are changes in your offerings, target audience or industry.
And it’s best practice to continually update your page to test which homepage strategies achieve your goals. So if you can’t remember when it was last updated, it’s been too long.
4. Your website isn’t responsive
Everyone has their phone on them at all times. When they’re on the go, they’re using their phone to look up businesses near them. Even when they’re home, they’re using their phones to scour the internet for solutions to their everyday challenges.
If you haven’t upgraded to responsive web design, you’re leaving a bad impression, or worse, no impression at all.
Your website should function on and respond well to any device the user may view it on.
5. Your website isn’t on-brand
If your business has been around for a while, chances are that you’ve made tweaks to your brand.
But whether you made the improvements because you thought it would look cool or work better, your website needs to match those changes. The whole point of a brand is to present a seamless identity at all touchpoints, and your website is one of the most crucial brand touchpoints you have. One element out of line can ruin the illusion.
If you’re not feeling encouraged enough, keep in mind that consistent branding across platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.
6. You’re using outdated images
When conducting a content audit of your website, your image choices should be under as much scrutiny as your copy. Studies show that users spend nearly 6 seconds looking at your web page’s main image. Outdated images look tacky, leaving the wrong impression and downgrading the user’s experience.
Every image on your site should be relevant to your brand and align with the page’s message. Whenever you update your copy or make changes to your brand, ensure that you update your visual elements.
7. Your website isn’t generating leads
Businesses that blog get 67% more leads. This serves to remind you that the entire point of creating content is to meet business goals. New content lures in leads by boosting a company’s SEO and credibility.
If your website content isn’t contributing to lead development, this could be a sign that it’s outdated. There is also the chance that your content is good, but you haven’t effectively integrated it into your marketing strategy.
8. Your web traffic is stagnant or declining
As we mentioned above, your website content should be bringing people to your website. If your web traffic is stagnant or declining, it’s an indicator that your content isn’t offering the value it once was. Your topics or how you’re appealing to your audience is likely outdated. Analyze when the change occurred and do some experimenting to find the culprit, and then make the necessary updates to get your site back on track.
9. Your tone or message is inconsistent
Maybe you rebranded; perhaps you’ve had multiple writers collaborating on your content. Whatever the reason, your brand voice is inconsistent on your website. Your content isn’t memorable and isn’t selling because readers are getting mixed signals.
If you find that your tone shifts across your site, it’s time to get a content writer to bring some consistency to the table.
10. There’s old or inaccurate information anywhere
One of the biggest signs of outdated website content is the presence of old or inaccurate information. It doesn’t matter if you posted a blog 10 years back, and it was relevant at the time; new customers can find it and decide that your company is old news. Outdated facts justifiably ruin trust in your expertise. It’s why a strong content strategy emphasizes updating old pieces of content as much as it does posting new content.
All businesses need to stay informed on industry trends, news, events, and research, but this is especially the case for fast-moving industries.
11. You’re using broken links
When a user tries a link on your website and it doesn’t work, the first thought is that you’ve made an error or don’t care enough to keep up with your site. In reality, links fail when sources get moved, deleted, page elements break or URLs get mistyped. To prevent a natural occurrence from giving off a negative impression, you should always check for broken links.
A lack of high-quality backlinks is also one of the many reasons your website may not show up in search results.
12. Your copyright date isn’t the current year
We get it. It’s easy to forget about that little copyright date way down in the footer of your website. But the truth is that many of your site visitors will scroll to your footer and see it.
At that moment, they can make a snap judgment about the content on your site.
At best, your business appears uninvolved and dated.
At worst, if the date is old enough, they might think that you’re no longer in business.
Where an outdated statistic on a blog post may not be as noticeable, the copyright date clearly dates your web content, so you should always update it.
13. Your new products/events aren’t even new anymore
Maintaining accurate product descriptions is an absolute must. If your product is no longer new, don’t label it as such. If you host events, remove past events from your upcoming list as soon as they pass.
Incorrect product information not only looks bad but makes your brand appear deceitful. It shows that you don’t care enough to update the most important aspect of your site and business, and it makes navigation hard on users.
14. Your web pages are slow to load
Slow web pages not only hurt your ranking in search engine results but if a lead does manage to find your website, they’ll likely get frustrated and leave for a competitor that doesn’t make them wait.
There are many reasons that websites slow down, from outdated and bulky code to oversized media files. Usually, it’s a sign that it’s time to update your web design or content.
Grow Your Business With Fresh Website Content
If your website suffers from one or more of these symptoms of outdated content, don’t fret. You’re not doomed, and you can fix it with the right content strategy. If you’re ready to do something about it, check out our guide on keeping your website content fresh, and you’ll improve your SEO, analytics reports, user experience and conversion rates in no time.