Although most of us have some type of website--after all, it’s critical in today’s online world--the reality is that most of our websites could use a refresh or an overhaul. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you tackle yours.
What’s the purpose of your site? Is it to educate visitors? Is it the entryway to your ecommerce site? Settling in on the main purpose of your website at the start of the planning phase is key in meeting expectations.
What internal capabilities do you need to build AND manage the site once it’s up and running? Do you have the proper staff in place to build and maintain it from a technical standpoint? How about a writer to help articulate the purpose and keep the content relevant and fresh? A website administrator (the person that may build or manage your web site) IS NOT the same resource as the person responsible for writing the content on the site: those tasks require two different skill sets.
If you don’t have internal resources to manage a robust website, don’t build one. Keep it simple. I see nothing wrong with two-or three-page websites with basic information. I would rather have you build small and be able to manage it properly, then build out an eight-page website and fall short of keeping it fresh and relevant.
What’s a logical sitemap? A website sitemap is sort of like an HR org chart. Google “website site map template” to see an example. Really think this part through. How many pages do you need? What type of content will live on each page?
Having a sitemap helps you visualize your site. It makes it easier to ensure your team is on the same page in terms of content and flow. It also gives you a framework for discussion if you’re getting outside assistance to build your site.
Does your site contain critical key words? Next up: SEO or search engine optimization. SEO helps ensure that when customers or prospects are searching online for the product/service you provide, your company pops up in their search results (which is why you have a website after all!). And for this to happen, your website has to have a clear line of communication with Google, or other search engines, in order to connect your website to consumers’ keyword searches.
Proper SEO implementation is critical. I cannot stress this enough. SEO is a combination of technical and creative writing skills. It is not something that should be taken lightly or done later. It needs to happen now and you need to take it seriously. Do that and, you’ll see a vastly different result in the power of your website.
Last but not least, it’s important to commit to ongoing maintenance and content updates. A website is not a one and done marketing initiative. It takes ongoing, tender loving care.
If you are a small business and website responsibilities fall to you, please do me a favor: Block a half-hour on your calendar every month to sit down and review your website. Look for technical updates that need to be downloaded. Look at the content on your site. Is there new marketing material that can be added? Look at your web traffic and see which pages folks are spending time on. If you are apart of a larger organization and website responsibilities fall to you, same rules apply. You might just have the benefit of having other folks involved with monthly updates. But nonetheless, take initiative and schedules those monthly website meetings.
Spend time maintaining your website, and you’ll see two things happen: 1) You’ll get more out of this powerful marketing tool and 2) You’ll become more comfortable working within it. I always hear from small business owners, “I’m not a technical person so I don’t know how to keep up with my website.” As I tell my kids about sports, you are never going to get better unless you show up to practice and try. Start small and work up from there.
By the way, the debate continues if website is one word, or two, web site. Wikipedia and Webster both say website, so let’s all go with that.
This Marketing Minute is brought to you by Sarah Hurley, owner at Weber Marketing, LLC.