Give Your Website a Cognitive Test: Does It Know What Year It Is?

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Scott Baradell
Published: Sep 29, 2020

"Person ... woman ...  man ... camera ... TV."

That's one way to conduct a cognitive test. Another is to ask someone if they know what year it is. If they don't, they may have a concussion, dementia or worse.

Whatever the cause, it's not good -- for people, or for websites.

Have you ever visited a company's website, scrolled to the bottom of the page and seen an outdated copyright notice?  It may seem like a small mistake, but it's one that has practical implications.

Copyright notices protect your business. They demonstrate that you take pride in your work and place a priority on safeguarding it. 

If a prospective buyer visits your website and it says, "Copyright 2018" at the bottom, they may draw one or more of the following conclusions:

  • This company doesn't keep its website up to date. What else doesn't it keep up to date?
  • This company doesn't demonstrate very good attention to detail on its website. What kind of attention to detail does its show in its products or services?
  • This company doesn't value its intellectual property. Will it value my property?

At the very least, that prospect may check other places -- such as review sites -- to make sure their negative perception is incorrect before they move forward with you.

When something unsettles people during a buying process, they need to be reassured. Even if that something might seem very minor to you.

The folks at Sonet Digital put it this way:

If you are slow to update, you risk looking disinterested, out of touch or lazy, which are never good looks.

Now that you realize that having the current year in your copyright notice is a bigger deal than you might have thought it was, what should you do about it?

Updating the year manually each January 1 couldn't be simpler, of course. The problem is that since this notice is in small type at the bottom of your website, brands tend to forget to do it.

The solution is simply to add a bit of coding to make these updates automatic. Access Communications breaks down one way to do it. If you have a WordPress site, you can also download a widget like Current Year Shortcode or Automatic Copyright Year.  

So take a moment and check your website's footer; is your copyright current? If not, update it to signal to visitors that you can be trusted -- even with the smallest of details. 

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