For anyone hoping that I was going to spill details of a date gone bad, well…. let’s say I never had a date go bad.
Regardless, this little essay does indeed involve dates – calendar dates and similar. It’s mostly directed at websites, but the lesson learned can be applied to almost any business.
In very simple terms, if you are going to “date” anything, you’d better make sure you are dedicated enough to stay on top of it. There is no more certain way to say “I don’t give a @#$%” than having Mother’s Day stuff still up on Father’s Day.
Or still having your “Winter Blowout” on April 9th.
Or having a dated news item on your home page that is six months old.
Or posting the date you updated your blog, and the last update was four months ago.
Seriously – what would you think if you came to my blog, and the last entry was written four months ago? Would you wonder what happened? It may seem trivial, but it’s a big negative.
Because it essentially says you let the little details slip.
The same goes for brick and mortar businesses. How many times have you seen one that keeps sale prices up after a sale is over? Or has the big sign outside advertising last week’s bargain?
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that “most” things with dates end up just like what I describe above. They get neglected, then forgotten. Most people and companies are great starters. But there are very few finishers.
Be a finisher. Take the Mother’s Day stuff down the day after Mother’s Day. Post to your blog regularly. Your quarterly newsletter should come out four times a year, not three. And your “recent news” needs to be…. well…. recent.
Neglecting updates is a killer. It really is. No matter how nice a website is, if people see “old” things on the front page, or they see a blog that was last updated last season, it puts a tiny sliver of negativity in their heads. And that’s something no website (or business) wants. This is partially why I don’t recommend that companies put “company news” right on the homepage, because after a short burst of updates, that’s the first thing to get neglected. I’d rather not know any of your news than know that your last noteworthy thing happened at 2008’s Spud Show.
It’s on my whiteboard next to me right now: “12/21 – 1/4 – VACATION (don’t be too lazy, though – change the websites dates.)”
Yes, it really says that (except that I don’t write in italics). If you have dates on your website, put changing them on your planner right now.