Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung, and along with the itchy watery eyes to indicate that allergy season is here, there’s another bittersweet indicator of the seasons arrival: spring cleaning. Time to open up the house, dust the cobwebs off, and get rid of everything we no longer need. While scrubbing our living quarters down to a sparkling glow may be at the bottom of our priorities, it is absolutely necessary to clear out whatever we don’t need anymore.

Same goes with your website.

Regardless of when your website was first set up or when it was last updated, your site needs constant cleaning and polishing to keep the cobwebs away. A website is an extension of your business, or in some cases, your entire business and when it isn’t maintained, it shows.

Does your copyright year have anything other than the current year? Maybe you wrote a blog once and mentioned a date, like say April 5th which also happened to be a Thursday. Problem is that once that year passes, the information is no longer relevant and can deter clients from your business.

The same rules apply to brick-and-mortar businesses. If you were to walk into a supermarket you would expect that all the goods for sale were fresh. Pick up a loaf and bread and notice some mold? Chances are, you may not go back to that store anymore and if you do, anytime you shop there you’re going to proceed with caution.

A website should encourage clients to trust your services, not question them.

“Website maintenance is important to any business, regardless of size. Your website is a worldwide window into your business and it can have a big impact on how the value of your product or service is perceived. A well-maintained website is critical for real-time service industries. All businesses need regular website maintenance to attract and retain customers, maintain search engine rankings and present new information, products and services to the public.”

Google

The behemoth of a company whose name became synonymous to a verb. Need to find a mobile dog groomer? Google it. Don’t remember who the 28th president was? Start a Google search. The search engine giant is now the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How so? Any business worth its salt knows that landing on the first page of a Google search is the ultimate goal. There are even businesses whose sole purpose is to promise that they will land you on the first page. Why is it so important? Because less than 10% of people will click through to the second page. 

So how do you ensure that you show up in a Google search without going bankrupt in advertising and marketing? Title tags, keywords, SEO, content updates, original content, outbound links, site updates…the list goes on and on.

In order to ensure that your site is showing up in search results, it has to be updated constantly. A stagnant site will only hurt its rankings.

Error 404 – Page Not Found

Ah yes, nothing kills a business deal quicker than a dead page and/or website. Issues with plugin or theme updates, servers, hosts, memory limits, and a number of other circumstances can cause your site to become unavailable. What do you do in a situation like that? If no one is in charge of monitoring the site, it could be hours or worse, days, before you realize your site is down. Designating a professional, or at least someone within your business, to oversee your site can speed up the process to get your site back up and running.

“Website maintenance is essential for all businesses, regardless of size or business sector. When you commit to routine website maintenance, you’re investing in the best possible customer experience, while providing a safe and secure environment for business transactions.”

The times they are a changing

Cell phones are getting bigger, tablets are getting smaller, and yet these mobile devices are responsible for close to 60% of online activity. We want information, and we want it now, regardless of where we are. Because of this, most websites have responsive themes so that no matter how someone accesses your website, they will get the same experience and the same information. But what about if your website was built years ago? Before mobile device domination? Or what if your cutting edge design didn’t quite hold up and although it was once ahead of its time, it’s now dating your company?

Businesses get updated constantly, newer SOPs, better technology, so why should your site get the shaft?

“It’s a fast-paced world, and rebranding offline and online happens at a more frenetic pace than in decades prior. Attention spans are shortening and media options fragment each and every year. So it’s often required to retool a site design, even before it’s desired, to keep your customers feeling you’re keeping pace with the industry and your competitors.”

Security

More important than a snazzy new design or sprinkling keywords throughout your site is web security. Hands down, the most important reason why you should maintain your website is to keep it secure. Cleaning it up every so often is great, but none of that will matter if hackers get hold of your site or if clients no longer trust their information on your site.

Strong passwords, two-step authentication, backing your site up, all of these contribute to a stronger site but ultimately there is still some room for error. Dropbox, Wendy’s, and Snapchat were just a few of the major companies that had their security breached in 2016. It can happen to anyone. However, the best defense is a good offense. it is better to be prepared and take preventative measures instead of being attacked and not knowing where to begin.

Ultimately, cleaning up your website shouldn’t be reserved simply for spring. If you have some questions about your site or are looking to give your site a much-needed boost, feel free to contact us directly.

 

 

 

Reasons You Need A Small Business Website

7 Reasons You Need a Small Business Website

The matchbook cover was the first small business website. And it was revolutionary.

Joshua Pusey, a Philadelphia lawyer, invented the matchbook in 1892. In the 1940s and 1950s, detailed artwork and strategic marketing plans launched the matchbook cover to the top of marketing successes. Customizing a matchbook cover essentially put your business on the map, much in the same way as a business website does today.

The digital age has invented and reinvented exciting and revolutionary ways for small businesses to put their professional feet forward and compete with bigger businesses. And it all begins with a simple, yet compelling small business website.

If you have been on the fence about whether implementing a small business website is a good decision, now is an excellent time to break through the inertia of inaction. We hope to overcome your objections and help you to position your small business for success. Here are seven reasons you need a small business website.

Small Business Website Benefits

1. Business Credibility

A 2015 study performed by Verisign reported that 84% consumers believe that small businesses with websites are more credible than ones without an online presence. To take it one step further, the study also concluded that 65% of consumers consider a company branded email to be more credible than a generic email account such as Gmail, Outlook.com, AOL, or Yahoo mail.

The days of matchbook advertising are long gone and to remain relevant and credible, small businesses must invest in a small business website. Looked at another way, if all your competitors have websites and your business doesn’t, who do you think looks more credible?

2. Business Discoverability

The same study by Verisign also reported that 9 out of 10 consumers rely on the internet to locate and evaluate local goods and services. Understanding these numbers and the online habits of consumers makes it difficult to understand why 46% of small businesses do not have a website. But for the 54% that have developed their business website, they benefit from a clear advantage when considering discoverability.

In a 2015 survey by Redshift Research, and commissioned by GoDaddy, it was found that 59 percent of very small businesses (made up of one to five people) don’t have websites. Of those, 12 percent have Facebook pages.

Additionally, the same survey found that 83 percent of the surveyed businesses that do have websites said “their online platforms gave them a competitive advantage over businesses without websites.”

With over 3.5 billion Google searches occurring each day, your customer could be seconds away from locating and patronizing your small business. Business websites allow potential customers to access your business and learn about your products and services 24/7.

3. Relatability

The ability to relate to a defined audience and build relationships is a game-changing benefit of creating and maintaining a small business website. Using your site to tell a story about you and your business begins the relationship.

Understanding your audience and how your product or service could provide a benefit to their lives continues to strengthen the relationship. Using your website to earn and retain a customer is the ultimate goal and the result of successfully relating to and serving the customer.

Consumers are more likely to visit your website to learn about your business than they are to pick up the phone and call. Replying to emails and social media comments is a great way to build trust and personalize your small business experience.

4. Flexibility

While your business may still have a need for printed advertising materials, these items tend to be costly, especially when they need to be updated. In today’s world consumers expect to see fresh marketing campaigns and information on a continuous basis. Small business websites allow for demographic information, services offered, business hours, and pricing to be edited at any time for no cost.

Easy to use website platforms, such as WordPress, are user-friendly even from mobile devices and allow for ongoing updates. Having the flexibility to keep your audience informed encourages strong relationships and keeps your customers coming back.

5. Business Sales Tool

Although a small business website serves many purposes, the main objectives are:

  • To inform
  • To engage
  • To convert

The most effective ways to use a business website to this end is to provide high-quality information, learn about who your audience is, what they want, and create a sales funnel that nurtures them through the sales process. Small business websites allow for automation of the sales process and for sales to be converted at a much higher rate than traditional sales methods.

6. Market Expansion

Perhaps your business began by serving a local community. Maybe your business is a brick and mortar business that would like to expand to a larger market. The ability to expand the market of a small business is one of the most lucrative benefits of creating a small business website.

Making your products or services available across time zones and even across the world can grow your business and revenue exponentially. Regardless of their geographical locations, the people who visit your website are there because they have expressed an interest in what your business offers. Use that to your advantage.

7. Web Presence Analytics

Unless you specifically ask each customer who comes through your door how they found you, you may not know the origin of your customers or which marketing campaigns work. Using your small business website as a marketing and analytics tool will provide real-time data about the following:

  • Demographics of your website visitors
  • How visitors find your site
  • The number of monthly/weekly/daily visitors to your website
  • Which website pages are most visited
  • How many pages visitors access per visit
  • How much time they spend on each page
  • How frequently visitors return to your website

More in-depth analytics data will also be available depending on whether your site is utilizing pay per click advertising or marketing software.

Conclusion:

The days of people pulling out the bulky, printed copy of the Yellow Pages to find your business are gone and they won’t be returning. Having a website for your business is a “must have” and not just a “nice to have” element of being in business. Not having a website puts your business at a competitive disadvantage.

-Article originally posted by Mike McEvoy on Web Presence Solutions.