As we all should know by now, having a website for your business really is a mandatory requirement whether you are a small one man band (or one woman band) or a multi-national or somewhere in between.
Your website will no doubt be bringing you lots of new client enquiries, will be serving your clients by keeping them informed of your products and services and performing beyond your wildest expectations (well we hope it is). However the reality can be somewhat different.
When we first started building websites it wasn't unusual for clients to be rewarded with lots of enquiries quickly. These days unless you have a unique product that is in demand and being searched for you will be part of the rat pack and fight like a dog for the attention of Google and the all important first page ranking.
However, since we formed as a limited company (in 2003, 4 years after we built our first website) there are now over 1,500,000,000 more website online (source https://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/) and even if we factor in the likely probability that 75% of these will be parked domains and do not contain any unique content other that the domain being parked, then there are still 375,000,000 more websites. The reality check is that in the UK the Yellow Pages was still able to be used as a door stop, people were still calling their companies names like "A1 Removals", "AA1 Removals" or "Aardvark Removals". These days you would struggle to notice it in the pile of letters when you return home from a holiday and everyone calls their companies something 'meaningful' or 'random' such as "London Letting Agents" or "Lemon Jelly Fish".
It's getting crowded out there.
We have enough clients to be able to see what makes a successful website and, even if we disregard the market sectors of our diverse client set, it is obvious to us that the main differentiator between a successful website and an ordinary website is the commitment to it.
Commitment you say?
I am not sure about Commitment...
There comes a time in all relationships where you have to commit, or give-up (or just bumble along of course) and your relationship with your website is no different.
Starting a new website can be exciting. New content is written, a new design is applied and all the pages have been tweaked for maximum on-page SEO with a clear focus on the ‘now’ of your business. Admittedly that can still be tough but it is also the easy part. Once launched, how may websites then continue to publish quality content? How many website owners keep reviewing them to make sure that they keep up to date?
Not that many.
In our experience, the general life cycle of the majority of websites is between 2 and 4 years, which generates spikey spend and a massive content review that no-one really enjoys. This is no longer good enough.
Our most successful clients fully commit to their web presence, value its existence, keep an eye on it, add fresh content and review and edit existing content. This has many benefits to the site and its performance for the business:
- Google and other search engines remain interested as the content changes, Google can get very bored!
- Content does not become stale and out of date, returning clients will want to see new content.
- Enquiries for old defunct products and services cease (as these will have been removed and the traffic nicely forwarded to the next generation of products or services)
- The relevancy of enquiries increases
- The business looks active and energetic to visitors
So, how often do I commit?
Let’s be reasonable. You run a business. You are probably not that interested or can’t afford to spend all your time updating a website, so we suggest that an update or two every month will do wonders for your on-line success. This does require the use of a solid content management system that can be easily used of course. Plus having a company behind you that is available and happy to help when you have forgotten to use the software will be of benefit!
A good intelligent technique is to work in Quarters. Make a plan every 3 months about what you want to talk about, what you think your industry will be doing of where your potential customers will need assistance. Using the seasons can be very helpful and you should also review the quarter you are in to see if has been successfulll. Learn from both your success and your mistakes.
Some examples of 'time based' content:
- Accountants can use the ticking of the HMRC clock to publish relevant content as deadlines approach.
- Window cleaners can look a spring cleaning to encourage enquiries.
- Everyone can keep an eye on the news and react to it with opinion or advice.
And that is just the tip of the content-burg.
The point is that if you publish a website and leave it for a year or more before you suddenly realise that your enquiries have dried up it will be too late. The investment in time that you will have to make to bring the site back up to speed will be greater than if you keep on tweaking, editing, adding and investing. It will also be more dilute as you will be in 'panic content writing' mode and not going with the flow.
So, if you need help, need content ideas or a little reminder every now and then to make a few changes we would love to help you commit to your relationship with your website.
If you are doing all this already excellent, I am sure you will agree with this article and be well aware of the benefits, keep it up!