Updating Your Own Content: Things I’d Like to Say to Clients

A client emailed me this morning to see whether he’d be able to update the content at his website, which we will be launching soon. I assured him that, since we’re building the site on the WordPress platform, he’ll be able to change it any time.

There are lots of benefits to updating your content:

  • Search engines love fresh content. It’s like saying, “Yoo hoo, search engine! We’re active over here!” They come on over to see what’s going on.
  • You can keep your information fresh and up to date. Make sure the links work. Reflect the current best practices in your field.
  • Regular visitors get new stuff to read or look at — and all visitors are more likely to become regular visitors if there’s new stuff to read or look at, instead of just the same things they’ve seen before.

So I was happy to assure the client that he”ll be able to make changes.

Honestly, I’d like to be able to say some other things at the same time:

  • Don’t mess with the homepage above the fold. We put a lot of research and testing into that text, and it’s designed to appeal to both the search engines and your human visitors, a fairly specialized job. If you change it, chances are you won’t be happy with your results. Tell us what you want to accomplish and let us do it for you.
  • Resist the temptation to play with the fonts. No good will come of using multiple fonts, making your text multicolored, or centering it. I understand that it’s fun to do that, but that’s what greeting cards are for. Your visitors will never say, “This is a great site, except that I’m totally bored with looking at Calibri. I’m not coming back till they put some paragraphs into Papyrus.”
  • Respect the design. You hired a designer, you signed off on the design, and now you should have some faith in those decisions. Put the pictures into the places we gave you for pictures. Use the margins we made for you. Don’t replace your logo with a video. Again, if you want changes, let us do that for you. Otherwise, change the content but leave the design alone.

You know what? It’s your site. If you want to use apostrophes wrong, center your text, and use green for emphasis, you can. Therefore, I won’t be saying any of those things to clients.

Sometimes I’d like to, though.


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3 responses to “Updating Your Own Content: Things I’d Like to Say to Clients”

  1. Ben Locker Avatar
    Ben Locker

    So true! It’s great that clients can change their text, but I sometimes wish they wouldn’t. As a copywriter, I like to point new clients to sites I’ve written – and that haven’t been tampered with!

    1. Rebecca Haden Avatar

      Now that’s an interesting idea — do you find that they see the point you’re making?

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