Updating your website news: tips and advice from a journalist

So you’ve got yourself a shiny new website complete with a news section. It’s all up to date at the moment but… What does this section look like six months down the line? Does it still have the same news story at the top of the list? Does that show your customers that your website is a little unloved?

In my experience the answer is a) nothing’s changed b) yes and c) yes.

  • Many people genuinely believe they don’t have any news to share – let me explain why this is almost always not the case!

Help, I don’t have any news to share!

Yes you do! I guarantee you if I ask you a couple of basic questions about your business you WILL have some ‘news’. It may not be news in the sense of page lead in a newspaper or the top story on News At 10, but it’s news nonetheless. Here are a couple of recent news ‘finds’ for clients.

Gimme some news ideas, hack!

Client 1: Food producer – Recently took a stand at a large agricultural show, sold out of homemade jam / burgers / bread (take your pick). That’s news. Even after the event (to be smart, you’d write a news item before going to the event then a piece afterwards to get a double-hit of news). Add a picture and it’s a quick snapshot that tells customers of what you’ve been up to – and it shows how popular your products are.

Client 2: Hotel – Has been employing an interior design company to update rooms. Recently completed the refurbishment of 10 rooms. That’s news too! Images are pretty much essential with this item, along with a line about continuing to work on next tranche of rooms etc. Before and after pix would work really well.

Client 3:  Pub – Owner has recently attended a training course for tourism ‘ambassadors’ and gained ‘ambassador’ status. Explain what it means, when it happened, why it will benefit customers and add a picture of proud ambassador with certificate. That’s news.

Client 4: Manufacturing business – Report by BBC News says manufacturing output is up by xx per cent this quarter. Link to a quote from managing director about burgeoning sales figures and add link back to news report on BBC website. Add image of product or managing director showcasing product. That’s news.

For more web content and web news ideas contact me and I will write your web news for you (I know how busy you are running your business).

Happy news-hounding!

Why does it matter if my website news isn’t up to date?

There’s no getting away from the fact that if you click on a website navigation tab that says ‘news’, news is what you’re expecting to get! It’s not news if it’s six months old (or older!).

You may say that the fact your news is out of date shows how busy you are (surely a good thing?). I say yes, but it also shows you don’t pay attention to your customers who really would like to know about your business and what initiatives / offers / fun stuff you’ve got to share.

Customers want to feel that you care about them even before they step through your door (assuming you have a physical shop, B&B, hotel or holiday cottage).

Also, here’s another good reason.

Google loves an updated site

Here in the Brecon Beacons National Park, the number one question I get asked when I’m working with Jonah Webb (purpleandgreen.co.uk/web-design) to plan a new website is… “How do I get to the top of Google?”.

It’s doubtful there’s a hard and fast way to ‘guarantee’ this (even SEO experts would agree) but one thing you can do to help is make sure you update your site regularly. That way when the Google-bot crawls your website it will recognise that it is a site worthy of pushing up the rankings because, to be frank, it’s not a site that’s all lonely and unloved. If that sounds a bit glib there is truth in this – try it and see if it helps your site gain greater ‘natural search’ visibility!