Using Business Website Content that Updates Automatically - dummies

Using Business Website Content that Updates Automatically

By Jan Zimmerman

One way to update your business’s website content quickly is to use an automated service that feeds your site such information as the date, the weather, or news and stock tickers. You can also find sites that provide daily word-of-the-day entries, jokes, or quotations!

Automated updates are a reasonable option for businesses with information-only sites that remain fairly static, as long as the content is relevant to the purpose of your site and appropriate for your audience. For instance, a stockbroker might want to include a stock ticker, but a joke of the day can be quite inappropriate.

Be cautious about using religious or political quotation services unless you’re sure your audience won’t be offended. Automated updates might help with your search engine ranking, but they’re no substitute for reviewing your own content regularly.

Some content services are free, some require that you advertise a link back to the source, and others charge a monthly rate for their services. Your developer can place a date, stock ticker, or weather script directly into a server-side include (SSI) or footer so that it appears on every page.

Rather than use scripts, you can now use Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to provide news or weather or another type of information to your site.

Don’t use a visible, automated page counter on your website. Although a page counter may count as a content update for search engine purposes, it can provide negative information unintentionally. If viewers stumble across a counter that reads 58 visits since 2006, for example, they might wonder why they should bother reading the page. The page counter becomes a “reverse testimonial,” in effect bad-mouthing your site.