Once you've developed a Web site, you don't want to let it grow stale. A Web site that never changes is the virtual equivalent to a home that never takes down its Christmas lights. Nothing says "Out to Lunch" or "This business is struggling" like an inert site.
Fortunately, you don't have to make drastic — or expensive — changes to your site in order to keep it looking fresh and up–to–date. Even if most of your site is static, taking the following steps will create the impression that it's dynamic.
- Create a "What's New?" section, in which you announce new products, sales, or services.
- If you ship products, watch for changes in postage and shipping charges, and be sure to make immediate updates on your site.
- If you make seasonal changes to your site (whether it's rotating graphics or introducing new colors) be sure to swap them out as soon as they're no longer relevant. If you put shamrocks on your site for St. Patrick's day, in other words, make sure they're not hanging around on April Fool's Day.
- Make sure that special promotions don't linger beyond their expiration dates and that changes in pricing and inventory (new or discontinued items) are immediately updated. Promotions and sales are great, but they become liabilities if posted past their expirations.
- Answer all emails promptly, even if it means providing an automatic response (such as "Thanks for your message") before you can write a more detailed one. See the section below for more thoughts about email.
- Collect customer feedback and create a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Again, if you solicit customer feedback, be sure that you can respond in a timely manner.
- Continually check your site to make sure that the links are working. Get in the habit of reading the copy on your site. Pay particular attention to those areas that you frequently update. Change awkward phrasing and correct grammatical mistakes.
A final thought about email addresses
To make your email an excellent customer service tool, sign up for customized email addresses and list a customer service email address on your site. Even if you're a one–person operation, customized email addresses (acquired through email domain hosting) allow you to use multiple email addresses that are all branded with your company's name. You could, for instance, create email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, and then have all of these emails forwarded to one account.