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That Time of Year (not goal setting!)

January 8th, 2009

All the marketing experts right now are writing about how you should be setting goals this week. So there is no need for me to beat you over the head with it. Instead I’m going to give you something they aren’t: real-world, valuable, solid, easy-to-implement advice that you probably haven’t heard before.

How novel.

Every January I try to go through my various web pages and update the copyright notice to reflect the new year. This does four things:

1) It automatically extends my copyright on the material on my web site for an additional year. This is important, but it is really the least important reason for doing this as by the time the copyright expires on the material that is posted on my web site it will probably be of little real value to my surviving heirs anyway. The more important reasons follow…

2) It lets viewers know they are seeing an up-to-date web site. Personally, when I see a website that proudly boasts that it was “recently” updated and the date mentioned is 3 years old, I really wonder why they mention it at all!

Seriously, if you aren’t going to regularly go in and change the copy on your web site, that’s fine. Just don’t be silly enough to put a DATE on the web site letting everyone KNOW! People appreciate up-to-date information when browsing the web. You don’t want to publicize if your information hasn’t been updated in years.

I renew the copyright date on my website, even if the copy doesn’t change as it lets the reader’s know that I am still actively involved in running the business and that I am attentive to details.

3) The third reason is that when you go in and look at each individual page as you adjust the copyright date it sort of forces you to actually read the copy that you’ve posted. You’d be surprised what things you will find when you read your own web site. From information that is no longer accurate, to misspelled words, to references that date the site even more than an old copyright notice.

As an example, there was a competitor of mine who also performed motivational school assembly programs in Texas. Her programs claimed to address specific issues covered in the state mandated test in Texas, however, she was calling the test by a name that hadn’t been used in Texas for almost FIVE YEARS!! I had to wonder how many opportunities she lost simply because her web site was promoting her ability to help students pass a test that had been phased out half a decade previously.

These are the silly sorts of mistakes that can cost you more than not having a web site at all!

So go in and read your own web site. Each page, one-by-one. Update the copyright years if you have them, make sure that all the other references are up to date, and keep an eye out for other opportunities to polish up your site going into this new year.

4) And for the last, but possibly the most important reason to update your web site copyright dates: search engines (e.g. Google and Yahoo) love current information. They can tell when the web page was last updated and that weighs heavily in your search engine rankings. They can’t tell how much information on your site has changed (maybe it was nothing more than “2008” becoming “2009”) but they weigh current information far more heavily than information that hasn’t been updated in a year or more.

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