Some clients seem to think that once theirwebsite is up and running they can now “leave it alone”. Wishfulthinking! Websites are in some ways just like cars where you need tospend time and money on maintenance to keep it running ”sweet”.
Two simple habits are of great importance here:
- Creating a budget.
- Visiting your own website.
Your website needs to stay “fresh” and in order to achieve this you need to allocate time and resources.
- Allocate time – Checking statistics, traffic, finding keywords, adding new products,images and content, researching competitors websites, reading blogs andnewsletters, updating pages, changing images are time consuming and require specific skills which are often in short supply in a small or medium size business.This needs to be done and you need to allocate “sufficient time” to dothese tasks. If you can’t (or won’t) do it yourself then you must paysomeone else to do this (e.g employee or web agency).
- Allocate money – Although you are able to do many tasks yourself using the CMS youwill still need to engage your webmaster every so often to add pages,functionality, technical upgrades and advice. Allocate funds in yourbudget for this professional assistance and upgrades, especially If youdo not possess enough time to handle the website yourself. Clients whoare prepared to “spend money” on their websites also seem to have thehighest amount of traffic.
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Both elements (time and money) are more often than not in shortsupply, resulting in clients simply not touching their website yearafter year. These websites then start lagging behind and gettingincreasingly fewer visits, no growth, lower rankings and less business.
We tend to become a bit defensive when we do this, but being somewhat critical by putting yourself in your visitors shoes can pay hugedividends:
- Overall appeal – am I pleased with the first impression and does it display well overthe range of devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices(smart phones and tablets)? Should I upgrade my website with a newdesign using latest web technology (e.g responsive design).
- Keywords – What phrase would your visitor key in to the Google search box sothey can find your website? Do I maybe need to update my content toinclude these keywords (more often)?
- Accurate reflection – Does website give an accurate picture of my products and services and how can I make improvements.
- Information current? – Visitors are quickly put off when your latest newsletter is dated2008, or that the “What’s New” section has not been updated since 2006.
- Images and pictures – Are they of a good quality and recent? Does that staff photo still include some resignations?
- Easy to find? – Is it easy to browse my site and can I really find what I am looking for in the first 20 seconds or so?
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By allocating time, money and a critical eye you will be able to fine-tune your website so that it becomes your most valuable tool ofthe 21st century.