You’re Only As Good As Your Most Outdated Web Page

By PlayingWithPSP on Flickr
By PlayingWithBrushes via Flickr

Someone stopped me at my church’s Volunteer Fair today to ask, “Is the parish web site up to date? Are you having a hard time keeping it accurate?”

In my mind I checked off the many updates we recently completed, but quickly surmised that such a list would be devoid of relevance to the questioner. If you’re asked this question, know that the person is focused on a particular omission.

It didn’t matter that she hadn’t even visited the site herself. A fellow volunteer had complained to her—with justification—about finding outdated information regarding our elementary school’s Oktoberfest fundraiser. In her mind, the entire site’s reputation was shot based on this second-hand account.

Oh, I could have explained that the school hadn’t emailed me this year’s update, or that the information should actually reside on the school’s site instead of the church’s site, or that the site had 100 other features that were timely, or that my dog ate my server. Do you think such explanations are going to change your visitors’ opinions of your site? Nope. [Full disclosure: I don’t have a dog.]

Tomorrow I’ll track down the Oktoberfest organizer at day two of the Fair so that I can get the latest facts and begin to make amends.

I was fortunate to attend an unrelated event where I could receive this feedback. Will you have the same luck? Is there an old page out there that’s the weakest link for your site’s reputation?

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