Should you update your website copy?

We all know the old adage "If it's not broken, do not fix it" - but there are many website owners who do not heed this wise advice. As a freelance copywriter, I regularly have clients contacting me to rewrite web content that has only been on the market for a few weeks or months. When I ask them about their reason for wanting to update them, the answers go in the same direction:

"We were # 7 in Google search results last month and now we're # 15."
"I'm just so sorry to look at it."

"It's been up there for six months, it seems we should mix it up a bit."
The reality is that none of these reasons is necessarily a reason to revise the web copy. A quick jump into organic search rankings may not have a significant impact on leads or conversions. And by making a change to achieve a goal (seeing your company's name in Google's top 5), you can end up sacrificing a few other important initiatives. Plus, with the known volatility of the search engines, Google and Yahoo may end up having less appetite for your new website copy, as they have done for the old version. And remember, just because you're fed up with your web content does not mean that your customers are.

Instead of coring and replacing content that still deserves its real estate, why not hire a professional freelance author to create some keyword-rich web articles for publication in online directories? A low-cost Google AdWords campaign can also help your web presence - and your conversions - gain momentum.
Of course, there are cases where updating the web copy is justified:
Your conversions have suffered a blow. When a smaller percentage of your visitors are turned into customers, it may actually be time to refresh content. However, before you assume that your site copy is the culprit, you should be aware of any other changes that have recently affected the user experience.
Your offers have changed. If you have added or removed products or services, your web content should reflect the change in your business direction.
With new market developments affecting your industry, new keywords are recently appearing in your analytic reports and you want to incorporate them into your web copy.
Whatever you decide, you should test as much as possible. Copying updates should not be "all or nothing". Tweak a little here, sneak into a Google AdWords campaign and test it out. Make sure that you keep a copy of the old copy so that you can restore it if it does not work as intended. And if writing is not your strength, you can hire a trained, freelance author to give your content a professional touch.

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