As mentioned in a previous post, no website is ever finished (or is perfect), so how should a website that’s live and public be updated?
It’s really a question of risk management, which depends on a number of elements, including:
1, the purpose (user need) for the update
2, needs to be updated (basic content, forms, products, functionality)
3, who is responsible for what is being updated (content owner)
4, the system capabilities (specifically for publishing or staging)
This blog would be very long if it included explanations of each of these. But the main point is that UX should not be an afterthought.
User needs should always be at the heart of any update, regardless of the finer details. Its essential to make changes based on improving the user experience (if it doesn’t enhance the UX, then why make the change?). It could be correcting something erroneous on the site (such as a contact detail) or refining the wording of content to be easier to understand. I’d encourage any business to be proactive and make the change, as long as it’s accurate. Users hate wrong information on a website, so if a problem is noticed, just fix it.
But be mindful of how changes made in the wrong way can adversely affect users, such as disrupting information architecture proven to be good for users or adding content that add no value and dilute the purpose of the content.