How to Make a Website Evergreen

18 Oct

Information is provided to search engines nearly instantaneously, however, the ability to scan those pages for correct and current information is not. Web surfers need t dust off the old research skills and read every page which looks promising to discover if the information is useful now or if it was useful ten years ago. We are diving head first into an age where the Internet is no longer new and everyone but everyone is allowed to post whatever they please, whether it is pertinent, true or current. Keeping your own website evergreen means that in fifteen years, you’ll still get hits because your information will still be pertinent.

Leave Out Dates

Leave out dates which will make your information irrelevant in ten years. A great example of this mistake is including the age of people or years in business. If you are trying to reach out to clients by making a familiar connection, leave off the age of your new baby because that baby will grow. Ten years from now, you want to avoid possible embarrassment by having to apologize for this discrepancy on your website. Leave off your years in business as well, because every year brings new experience, and unless you plan to change this number every year to reflect your experience, you will not correctly reflect your business expertise. An acceptable way to include an age or years in business is to type the year of birth or the year of opening. Another acceptable method to include dates is to lead with the date. “In 1999, Better Homes and Gardens claimed….” is an acceptable date insert.

Use Statistics Sparingly

Statistics are extremely difficult to include in an evergreen website. If you are interested in updating the statistical information periodically, then go ahead. Otherwise, leave the statistics off your site. The information changes consistently and it’s just not worth the hassle that comes with traffic driven away from your site due to misinformation. Consider your own web searches. If you encounter a website with outdated statistical information, won’t you go elsewhere to discover the correct answer? Your web clientele will also skip your page if it is known for incorrect, outdated statistical information.

Skip the Cultural References

Sorry, Mr. Smith, you are a cultural icon.

It’s apparent when a television program is ten or more years old almost immediately. The same is true for a website which uses cultural references. These references include bands, styles, trends and slang. While slang is never a good idea for a professional site, it is certainly the best way to destroy your site’s evergreen feel. If you must refer to a cultural image, be sure to phrase the reference to keep the content fresh for years. For example, discuss Tori Amos in this manner: “When Tori Amos released her record “A Piano: The Collection,” she included a song named, “A Sorta Fairytale,” which reflects on a sordid love affair.” The subject of the song is discussed while giving credit to the artist and album, but there is no inference which will change ten years from now. A statement which will not work is as follows: “The XBox 360 is the HOTTEST game system out there for first person shooters!” You don’t know if the XBox will be the hottest game system forever, so don’t include such statements on an evergreen web page.

Do Not Include Opinions

This point is a no-brainer for professionals. We know, as professionals, that we need to keep our sites from delving too far into our personal lives. However, for those of you creating personal websites, do not include your opinions unless you plan to return to the site and correct yourself later. Opinions change over time and are too ambiguous to be evergreen. If you are writing a professional review or commentary, the opinions are appropriate, but if you are trying to start a business website, keep it to yourself. For example, if you are starting a business in freelance writing and printing, do not proclaim that the Epson CX7400 printer is the only printer you will ever use. In fact, at the time of this blog late in the year 2011, I don’t even think they make that printer anymore. So already, I have ruined the evergreen quality of this blog post with that sample.

Do Not Reference the Future or Near Past

Do not talk about what is going to happen in the coming months or years or what happened last year if you are attempting to maintain an evergreen website. View this sample to best understand what this paragraph is trying to communicate:

In the coming years, we will grow to serve the West Side of New York as well as the North Side of New Jersey.

If you expand as planned, the website is obsolete within a few years. You will need to pay a web designer to fix the information or spend time away from your business fixing this yourself. Instead, include the new stores or locations as they open with announcements, such as:

Visit Vinnie’s Pizza in Manhattan! The facility is open as of 2011 and is eager to server the best New York style pizza in town!

Vinnie and his pizza shop are now able to continue to serve top notch pies to New York instead of revising an outdated website. Since Vinnie was reactive rather than proactive, his site will always be evergreen.

Follow these few tips to get started on an evergreen website. While you are creating the wording for the site, read and reread it, then imagine yourself sitting in your chair ten years from now, needing the information which is provided on your website. Is it still relevant to you ten years in the future? If it isn’t, change it to make it relevant. The best thing any web site designer, writer, business owner or blog writer can do for themselves is to ask a friend to read the site or imagine themselves in the role of consumer trying to glean information from the site today, tomorrow, and years from now. Keep your website evergreen and watch the page hits continue for years!


2 Responses to “How to Make a Website Evergreen”

  1. learn how to play piano December 2, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    I like the valuable info you provide to your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and take a look at again right here regularly. I’m quite sure I’ll be informed many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!


  1. Getting the Job – Creatively | The Inconsistent Mom - December 30, 2013

    […] for those pesky writing samples you need to drudge through to gauge your interest in my work:   […]

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