Does your Website Need a Refresh? 6 Tips for Keeping your Site Relevant and Engaging
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: November 30, 2010, 4:00 am
- Updated: November 9, 2011, 11:57 am
To the outside world your website is the equivalent of your storefront, and your customers expect it to be eye-catching, well-maintained, and always offering something new. However, when yo;re on the inside and are caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business, finding the time to focus on your website is easier said than done. And, like a neglected storefront, it can quickly become out-of-date, unappealing and, at worst, ignored.
Here are some tips to help you keep your website up-to-date, relevant and attracting customers.
1. Does your Site Meet Your Business Objectives?
It's likely that you know your website intimately. You helped get it started, had a say in the design, content and so on. You might even live and breathe your website. But i-s a good idea every now and again to step back a bit and assess your website in light of where your business is and where you want it to be. Does your site reflect your brand and corporate culture? If not, it should.
For example, when you started your business you may not have had a huge budget to invest online and built a skeleton site that had basic information about your business and its products and services. But does that start-up site still meet your needs?
Do you have things to say about your business that you are't doing through your website right now? For example, if you hold special events, offer regular specials or discounts, are you using your website to promote these?
How do you keep your customers'in the kno' using your website? Have you considered a blog, or using social media to help engage with and even educate your customers in a'socia' way?
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Do some sites seem to work while others do't? Wher's does yours fit in the line-up and what do you think you could do differently?
2. What do Your Customers Think?
Do't forget to ask your customers what they think of your site? Do they visit it? Does it appeal to them? What don't they like? How can it be made more useful to them?
3. Add some Bells and Whistles
If you determine that your website meets your needs, but just needs a mini shake-up to help you meet your objectives, consider introducing these elements:
- Add Lead Capture Devices - Use your website to get more information about your customers, and offer them something in return - whether it's a newsletter subscription, a white paper, or just another download. Use the data to establish regular communications and outreach to your customers. But be sure to adhere to SPAM laws and customer privacy laws.
- Start a Blog -A blog isn't right for every business, but it is a great way of keeping your site fresh and engaging. And because search engines love new content, a well maintained blog can help boost your rankings. Well written and thoughtful blogs can be a great way to introduce the human element of your business as well as position you as a trusted expert in your field. So whether you offer tips, how-tos, or share success stories of how you've helped your customers - just about every business owner has expertise and insights to share. To get you started read: Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog.
- Embrace Social Media - Another great way to generate traffic back to your website and get the word out about your business (what you offer, what's new, what's going on) is to get out there on social networking sites. To help you determine, which social media channel is a good for your business, read Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business and get started with this Ultimate Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing. Of course, don't forget to add links and icons to your website that let people know that you are active on social media.
4. Rearrange Your Site Architecture / Design
Whether you need to improve your site navigation to help people find the information they need, or you have new content (such as a blog) that you want to showcase, make sure your site architecture easily supports this. Many content management systems make it easy for site managers to do this without the help of a web developer. But be sure you have that capability before you start out.
5. Get Outside Help
If you don't have experts on staff, consider hiring a consultant to do the job. This one-time investment doesn't have to break the bank and might be worth it. Remember, to make it easier for you to manage and make changes to your site down the line, make sure your designer builds a site that has a robust and easy-to-use content management system (CMS) on the backend. This article provides some basic need-to- knows about CMS options: How to Find the Right Content Management System and get More Out of Your Web Site.
6. Measure Your Improvements
As you roll any changes out, use free website analytic tools to measure and monitor site traffic and assess ROI. How are people finding your site? What pages are attracting most interest or otherwise and why?
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General small business tips and tricks.