The interweb (or internet if you prefer) continues relentlessly full steam ahead whether you are along for the ride or not and taking time out means you can get left behind. Career sabbaticals, for instance, can mean you miss the never ending changes being rolled out across the internet. Whether it is just a 3 month break or perhaps 6 months this can mean quite a bit of hard work to regain lost ground. If your work life depends on the world of the internet simply switching it all off for a chunk of time means you are missing the changes as they happen. When you eventually switch back on again you will find changes have happened in your absence. Sometimes they will be obvious and others you may have to look hard to find.
Since the beginning of the internet static web pages were tickety boo and leading the way for the early internet pioneers. In the mid to late 1990s these pages were created in the main with Frontpage and then Dreamweaver with more dynamic coding following on. By 2002 blogging was on the increase and thus static websites became living and breathing things with constant updates. Add an ever increasing choice of social media platforms to share your content on and you kick up a storm in raising your profile. And of course, now we have responsive websites with smoother, cleaner pages ideally with active blogs attached.
Imagine you stepped away from technology in the midst of all these changes. Six months later you take a peek at Google and social media and at first you might not notice what has changed. Then you start to carry out the tasks you are used to doing via the internet and slowly you pick up the changes. Now let’s imagine a scenario as follows:
- Your business website gets built and launched in 2010
- Your Facebook and Twitter platforms were set up around the same time
- Your website did not have a blog or your blog did not have a regular programme of articles to post
- Your website has not really been edited since it was built and you only played at the social media platforms
Now imagine your nearest competition set up their website and social media at the same time as you way back in 2010 BUT, unlike you, they regularly up-dated their blog and they regularly posted on their social media platforms. They also got into Google in all the right places.
Now think – who has got the strongest presence on the internet? You or the competition?
Taking your eye off the ball gives competitive advantage away so paying attention to refreshing your website, regular blogging and regular social media interaction is key in building a healthy business in 2017. If you have taken your eye off the internet for six months or more then you need to take action starting with a good review of your website and social media. So where do you start? By researching similar websites and comparing what you see against yours. Jump on to social media platforms and see what is new and engage. Then seriously cast a constructive eye over your website and consider:
- Does my website match up with current trends? What needs changing? Consider whether your customer can engage with you via your website. If they cannot then it needs work as interacting with your customer is bang on trend. A blog is a must BUT only if you are regularly up-dating it. The ability for your customers to comment on your blog is often a good idea but this may not always be the case.
- What do you need to address in a redesign? Do I need to rebrand at the same time? If small tweaks are all you need to do then great but be honest. Do you need a total overhaul and possibly a rebrand? Is so then be specific and ensure your goals are measurable and realistic. At the same time, plan ahead and ensure you make a note in your business plan for another review of your on line presence – 12 months ahead – and follow through to keep on top of this fast moving world.
- Are there some new on trend features you have seen on other websites that you would like to have included in your website? Always make a note of other websites you have reviewed that contain functions, tools and layouts that you think might suit your business website. Consider whether these websites are attracting the level of engagement that you would like to attract. Determine whether these websites come up in relevant Google searches. If so take a look at how they are set up for SEO. Share with your website designer what your thoughts are concerning these other sites.
- Has your business or your products/services changed since you had your website built? It is the nature of every business for market trends to move. It is critical that your website stays relevant to what you are offering to avoid getting left behind.
- What do I want my website to do? Call to action is a big buzzword in business today. This is so necessary when directing your site visitors. You get a few precious seconds to keep their attention long enough for them to make a choice so make it easy for them! Consider in advance whether you want them to email you, phone you, complete a contact form to join your mailing list or simply click to purchase a specific item. Ensure your web designer knows what you want your site visitors to do and seek advice on how to express this in your website.
- Content is still king! Consider employing a skilled copywriter who can ensure your pages are filled with well written content – poor spelling and grammar can put customers off. In addition, it could hinder your chances of being found in Google searches.
SMG Virtual PA can help you take a look at your online profile and ensure it stays up to date.