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Is Your Site Outdated?

If your site's outdated, you could be paying the price--in customers.

You know the drill--you're visiting a business's website, looking for information on the latest sale or the types of services offered, and when you click on a link, you find it's broken or the printout coupon has expired. The website is out-of-date, and that entrepreneur is losing business because of it. Don't let this happen to your business, warns Steve Grushcow, CEO of Edit.com, a website maintenance service provider in New York City. "We find that [some businesses] forget about [their websites] because they're sort of intangible," says Grushcow, "but it's the face [of the business] to a lot of your customers."

During startup, define what exactly you want your website to accomplish-will it provide information, make sales, or get people to call your 800 number? Once you get up and running, make sure it still meets those goals. Grushcow also suggests checking your site at least once a month for broken links or outdated news. You can even add a newsletter or blog to make your site feel more current. And if you keep a list of clients or samples of past work, make sure to keep that up-to-date as well. "Keep your business consistent," says Grushcow. "Changes in your business should also be reflected on your website."

You can update your website yourself with web-maintenance software like Edit.com's, but if your design needs an overhaul, call in a professional developer to give it the face-lift it needs.

And if you're paying to advertise your site on search engines, you should be doubly concerned with keeping it updated and functioning well. "If your phone number is on your business card and it doesn't work, that would obviously be a problem," says Grushcow. "It's the same case for your website."

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This article was originally published in the May 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Web of Neglect.

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