You’re ready to build your website and online presence, and now comes the tricky part. Who to hire, how to know if you are using the right platform, hosting company… and you’re not even sure what you want to blog about.
Since 1998, SNDI has been building websites. It started with Flash animation (remember that?) and regular html. There are still some websites that I manage that were created using html and those small businesses usually don’t have the money to build a new website. The trouble is, as we continually add more content and the site grows larger and larger, the more difficult it will be once we do want to change it.
Then there are the small businesses who feel they have a website, just in case someone stumbles across it. They haven’t updated any pages, images, or added anything new in years. Trust me, I’ll bet new clients are few and far between. Or you’re doing so well, the site is an afterthought. However, when it comes to your web presence, you should want to look current, not dated.
I’ve had clients who forgot to renew their domain and either had to pay quite a bit to buy it back, or had to start a whole new site.
Lately, there have been security issues and I’m watching the way hosting companies respond to their customers. I wrote about this in this previous blog: Web Safety and our Dependence on Others
I understand the dilemma, I’ve heard just about everything.
Here are some of my best tips for building a nice looking, functionality sound and user-friendly website that will not only attract your ideal customer, but have them back, over and over again.
- What you need to know is that the plan and functionality drive a website and each Content Management System (like WordPress or Concrete5) can manipulate the site’s functionality, therefore one may be better than another depending upon your needs. It’s up to me to listen to what you want to sell or broadcast and then recommend how we can get you there. The website should be structured and designed so it accomplishes these goals. Some creative businesses want to show off their amazing artwork, while others want to sell products, or are looking for a following.
- Once developed, make sure that you are updating your website at least every two weeks, so clients, colleagues and followers know you are busy and working on new projects or at least have something to say. Then share that new project or blog post, but not on all social platforms all at once. Spread the sharing out for a few days, so you are continuously in the stream. Remember that people hang out in different social spaces and like different types of content (blogs, images, podcasts, video, etc.)
- SEO: Make sure that each page and/or post you create has a title that is relevant to the content posted but is also keyword friendly. Then add a short description and keywords (and long-tail keywords) that are relevant.
- You most likely have social media share buttons under your latest post/page/image, but perhaps you aren’t getting the hits you want. Make sure you are sharing in the right places. Here’s an example: I wrote a post called: Young Environmental Artists and I shared the blog on LinkedIn in the pulse section. Now, the people who may follow my posts may not be into this one if they’d rather read the web design or social media subjects. So, I shared the post in a few “green” groups within LinkedIn and will do that again in a few days. It sent many more readers, likes and comments. You have to reach your target audience.
- All your images within your site should be named and sized properly before they are uploaded and be in the right format! RGB, not CMYK and either jpg, gif or png. Don’t upload images with numbered names or that are 4-5 MB in size, the web can’t handle it and no one’s waiting around for your images to load. But, if you fail to name the image and leave it as 12345.jpg, how can anyone find you or your business?
Check out this previous post for more on the topics below: Tips on Building the Most Effective Website for Your Business
- Your Brand and Brand Visibility Online
- Designers, Programmers and SEO Technicians
- Let’s begin by distinguishing the BIG difference between a website designer and a web technical programmer
- Different CMSs and why they are Great
- How do you decide which CMS to use?
- Spring Bouquets: Poetry, Prose and Song
- High-Tech and Low: Digitally Drawn versus Traditional Illustration