Your website is your shop window to the outside world. It needs to work for you, to promote and sell your products and services when you’re not there. Even if your customers can’t actually buy from the site, it should engage potential customers and ensure they want to talk to you rather than a competitor.
Just think how frustrating it is when searching and sourcing for products and services when a site is outdated. Broken links, out of date product information, news that is 6 months old, out of date photographs, no phone numbers or the wrong contact details. It doesn’t give you a good impression of the company does it? Most likely you’ll go somewhere else.
It is very common however and always surprises me how many businesses will pay for a website and then do nothing else with it and wonder why it doesn’t do anything to help your business. All businesses have news and things to update, nothing stands still ever. There are new products, new services, changes to the team, new case studies and testimonials, events and awards taking place, new accreditations…the list is endless. And do these changes get reflected on the website? Probably not! Why? Often it’s a lack of time, maybe your marketing activity is sitting on a ‘to do’ pile. Or maybe you don’t have somebody in the business whose job it is to keep the website updated?
The majority of sites we build today come with some a content management system that enables the customer to update content themselves very easily. But sometimes updating or refreshing the site’s content isn’t enough to reflect where a business is and more importantly where it wants to be.
The mistake most businesses make is thinking of the website as a one off project, to breathe a sigh of relief when it’s live and they can forget about it. Your website should be seen as a live document, something that reflects your business this week, this month, not 2 or 3 years ago. If you really haven’t got the time to update your own website, even with a content management system, get a continuous development contract with your web or digital company so that you have someone you can call on to update it for you.
Businesses are different and require varying regularity of updates but here are FIG’s general top tips of what you should be doing to keep your website fresh, your customers interested in you and Google happy:
Update the news section at least three or four times a month. Better still make your news section a blog using blogger or WordPress to help with SEO (search engine optimisation). When you start blogging, commit to it and link your blog to the relevant landing pages throughout your website. If you need help setting up a blog give us a call on 01457 857111.
Whatever social media platforms your business uses make sure you have links to your accounts and an active feed on your home page so it will show daily updates on your website. Social media needs attention and a lot of work to keep updated and to engage with your audience. Choose the right platforms that are right for your business and the audience you are trying to attract. Don’t try to use them all, choose the most relevant for you.
If you have any new products or services or have enhanced any existing products or services, make sure that information is put up on your site and then blog about it. Have new photographs taken so it’s the new products your customers will see, not old ones.
If you have an about us section with team information make sure it’s kept up to date with new team members put up immediately to make them feel welcome and take down any leavers. Better still, write a press release or blog about new starters, share on socials and in your company emailshots! Team updates often get the best engagement as your existing customers are always interested in your staff.
Make sure when your website goes live you have Google Analytics set up on every page (your web company can do this for you very easily). It is a free service from Google but it needs integrating onto your site. By checking Google Analytics regularly, you can access some powerful information including what people are interested in on your site and where it might be letting you down. It can really shape future updates of your website to improve its performance and how your audience is using the website. You can download our free guide to Google Analytics here.
Usability can be a real stumbling block for many websites. If the navigation of your site is too complicated or overly confusing you are going to lose customers. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and look at your website with fresh eyes. Consider it from a user’s perspective. How easy is it to find things that are important to your customers, your products and services, for example? Very often when you are putting information together for a website you concentrate so much on saying everything, it becomes overly complicated and confusing. Chances are changes will be necessary to simplify your website’s usability.
Special offers are a great way to keep a website updated and create interest with your customers but always remember to take them off if they have a time limitation.
If you have lots of imagery in your business you could set up a Flickr Feed or gallery which demonstrates that your website is being continually updated.
Videos, especially YouTube videos are great for search engine optimisation purposes, but they’re also a fantastic way to keep content updated and fresh. Include product videos, demonstrations, training clips and customer testimonials.
A portfolio is a great way of showcasing what you do so keep it updated with examples of your new clients and their projects. Combine with testimonials and case studies to add great depth and credibility to your customer proposition.
If your website needs some work give FIG a call on 01457 857111. We’ll be happy to talk through the options with you, whether it’s a continuous development contract, a refresh with a content management system or simply putting a blog on your site. But don’t delay, your website could be losing you business…