But I realize other people have other priorities, and running a business doesn’t allow you the free time in order to always check out your web and social media platforms.
So what I try to do is get my clients to review their sites at least a few times a year, taking a good hard look at everything they own. I look at the change of seasons as a perfect time to review everything you are doing. The leaves are falling down, schedule some time with yourself and review everything you’re doing. Make a list of what’s working, what’s not working and where you’d like to improve. Do the same at the start of each season.
Here is a handy chart to use. Put these dates on your calendar and have a meeting with your staff.
Next, schedule some time with your website management company. And if you don’t have a website management company, then you aren’t doing justice to your business. Contact us, we are happy to help you come up with a management plan that will work for you and your enterprise. Have a meeting to go over your findings, and also ask them what are they seeing, where do they think you can improve? They may have a different take on things, but between the two of you, you’ll be able to formulate a plan that will set you up for the next quarter or so. This is especially good time to review any advertising you are doing. Are your Google adwords working well for you? Are you using social media ads, how are they doing? You have to review these things from time to time and change up what you’re doing. What’s working today, may not work tomorrow. For instance, I have seen more success lately from my social media ads versus my adwords expenditures. This of course may change, so I review what I’m doing all the time. Now this doesn’t mean to panic, because you have to give your ads some time to percolate.
It is really easy, to let your website & social media properties go. The sad part is they will grow stale and people who visit your website or social media pages will not do business with you. Think of yourself as if you are a brick-and-mortar store. If someone came in and your inventory never changed, what do you think would happen? I can tell you what will happen, you will close. You will fail. So think of your website the same way, it needs to be up-to-date, it needs to have a pleasing design, it needs to be responsively designed so it looks good on mobile, and it needs to have current news & information. This will give your customers an opinion that your company is successful, that it is moving forward and they will be more likely to do business with your company.
This immortal quote comes from the Bruce Springsteen song Thunder Road. In this case however we are speaking about free or cheap websites that you see offered all over the place. Now as a small business I can understand people wanting to save money, and these free or nearly free sites sound like such a great deal. So easy to set up and at no or minimal cost. Now I don’t want to stand in anybody’s way, but I do feel that you should be aware of a few things before you go down this route. I will then give you an alternative to the free method.
Here are some things to consider:
Code Ownership: Before signing up for one of these sites, make sure you actually own the code after you are done with this company. This is where the fine print comes in. These free sites seem like such a great idea, except for the fact at some point you may outgrow this company and need to have your own server, or you may just get tired of them as the support is not what you need or are expected. The way most of these companies structure their sites, you don’t actually own the code. Now the text and images you add are yours. BUT, and this is a big but: You can’t just take your site and move it to a new server or provider. In defense of these companies, nothing in this world is free. The way they make money is to keep you and by having you sign up for some of their additional services.
Additional Costs: a common tactic of the free or cheap web companies is to give you a site for free but they nickel and dime you with additional costs. For instance if you need search engine optimization, there’s a cost if you need marketing help there’s a cost, in fact when you sign up there are pages of add-ons that cost you money. What started as free ends up being more expensive than a full service provider. I had a client come to me as their free site ended up costing them $400 a month with little support.
Technology: one thing Business owners don’t give enough talk to is the technology platform for their website. Many of these free or cheapo providers use their own proprietary software. As we said before, one drawback is you can’t just take your site and move it. But the other drawback is their product is not as good as some of the open source products on the market. Examples of these are WordPress and Drupal.
Alternatives: as a small business, I understand all the issues that face other business owners. And I also have sought to find alternatives to costly websites. Depending on what a customer needs, we have alternative solutions that can get you to market quickly and inexpensively. And best of all our support plans will keep you up-to-date 24/7/365. If you don’t have the cash to get started, we also work out payment plans to space out the cost of your site. So at the end of the day, you own the code, you have a great content management system, and our support plans give you an all-in-one solution for content, web marketing, social media and pay per click advertising. No nickel and diming, a one-stop solution.