Thursday January 14, 2010, by Paul Blair
Make Your Website a Valuable Business Asset
We have found that some small business owners recognise that websites are a useful promotional tool, but they do not want to spend a lot of time or money on it.
It is very easy to create a free website and there are many free online website building tools available. Our experience has been that while the websites may look professional, there are problems with search engine indexing and hence poor search results, or updating the website is difficult and hence it rapidly becomes out of date (I will write more on this in a later blog).
We are 100% confident that umbraco's content management system, coupled with Paul's awesome developer's skills ensure that our websites are easy to update and searchable on Google.
Once the first hurdle, a useable website, is taken care of, having the confidence and skills to build a website into a valuable business asset then requires time and commitment. It might also take you out of your comfort zone.
Make a Website Maintenance Plan
Planning a website maintenance strategy might sound daunting, but can be as simple as planning to review and update one page within the site per month and writing a weekly news article or blog.
Keeping website page content fresh and releasing regular updates will result in better search rankings and is a sound strategy for long term growth.
Better Search Rankings
Search engines such as Google rank websites that have new content higher than websites with static content. Google places a high value on updated content, to avoid displaying websites that are no longer active.
Being in the number one spot in search results also increases click rates exponentially over subsequent search results, so refreshing page information and releasing keyword-rich news on a regular basis will be worth the time investment.
Get Customers to Notice Your Updates
Regular information updates encourage visitors to return to your website. Social media sites are a great way to reach out to customers and remind them that you have a service or product to offer them.
An RSS feed on a news column or blog (we are adding an RSS feed to our blog this month - we are just waiting for a software release), twitter updates and facebook pages all bring your information to your customers.
How Do Social Media Sites Increase Website Visits?
Take twitter for example. I follow a number of people through my twitter account @fairliebusy. When someone tweets about the latest blog update on their website and I follow the link, I am taken to the blog. I will read the article and then I might look around the website for related articles or any other interesting information. I might not buy a product or service this time, but I am building up trust in this contact and when I need that product or service - I am more likely to buy from a trusted source than an unknown source.
But I Have Nothing to Say!
There will always be something you can say about your business. We regularly blog about topics that our customers bring to our attention, we feel that if one customer experiences a problem, others might have the same problem too, so why not publish some information about it - the rest will think you are amazing for anticipating the issue.
If you have no news of your own, you can also link to an industry-related article written by someone else. They will be thrilled for the promotion of their work as well.
Measure, Measure, Measure
I love statistics and I use Google Analytics to check page visits, page source and traffic information on a regular basis. I can see that when I publish a blog the number of site visits increases. Analytics can also help you to see the popular areas on your site. Checking your statistics can help you work out if you have any problem areas on your website and you can fix them. If you have access to your site's statistics then use the information to target the problem areas and see your efforts making a difference.