Your website is the most important technology needed today to grow your small business. Yes. It is more important than Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smartphones, Tablets and everything else you read about. We recently underwent a big project to move and update several of our company Websites and Blogs. We learned a lot from these projects and would like to share some of experiences.
The following are the top 10 tips that helped us minimize the time, cost and hassle of this project.
1. Move to a Popular Content Management System (CMS)
If you are spending the time and money to update an existing or create a new website or blog, you want to move to using a modern "Content Management System" or CMS. Some of the more popular Content Management Systems include: Wordpress, Google Blogs (Blogger), Drupal or Squarespace.
We suggest Wordpress for most Small Businesses. It may not the best solution for everyone. However, it is very popular, with 50+ million worldwide websites (that is not a typo). Wordpress is also very cheap and there are lots of resources for help everywhere. There is even a Free version available for companies that have virtual no budget or staff. More on this later.
2. Design Your Site for Mobile Visitors
According to Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley, by 2015, the majority of users will be accessing your website from a Smartphone, Tablet or even a TV.... NOT a laptop or desktop computer of today. If you are creating a new website or updating an existing site, you want to do this project once now and have it work for the short-term future.
You should only use a Content Management System (CMS) that will support mobile devices now... or will in the future.
3. Remember HTML 5.... NOT Flash
As I just mentioned in the last tip, mobile is important now and will be extremely important in the near future. Unfortunately, there is a website technology battle going on today in the industry. The older technology is Adobe Flash. The new technology is called HTML 5. HTML 5 is the worldwide standard. We recommend that you make sure your website is designed with HTML 5 support... not Flash.
Many website and marketing vendors like to push Adobe Flash technology because that's what they have been using for the last 5 to 10 years. Please DO NOT let someone talk you into creating an Adobe FLASH Website or Blog. The whole worldwide industry is quickly moving to the HTML 5 standard. Even Adobe, the developer of Flash recently announced that it will be selling a product to create HTML 5 websites in direct competition to their Flash technology.
By 2011, there were 200 million Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch & Apple TVs) that use HTML 5... but DO NOT read FLASH technology. If you use Flash Technology on your new website or blog, you will exclude millions of potential customers. Many fancy restaurant and resort websites were designed using Flash... and for the last two years, million of potential customers haven't been able to see their websites. Now, many restaurants are rebuilding their sites using HTML 5 technology for mobile and desktop users.
Wordpress supports HTML 5.
4. Six Must-Have Websites Pages
If you are creating your 1st website, there are a six key pages that you need to publish on a website. Below are some thoughts about the type of information you would write for each page.
- Home Page - You 1st page summarizes a few key points:
- Company Name
- Contact Info
- Poduct and Services List
- One Paragraph describing your business
- About Us - Tells everyone about who you are
- Company Name
- Company Founder and Management Summary
- List of each Product or Service with a description of key info
- Blog - Blog Articles that are published on a regular basis and provides your readers and customers tips, key info and advice
- Contact Us - The Page that gives your readers info on how to contact you
- Address, Phone and eMail
- Social Networking Info
- Map and Directions to Your Office
- Landing Page - A special page designed to capture Sales Leads
- Key Sales Lead or Order Form
- Info on a product or service
Tip: The best thing to do is to read other websites and blogs that you like and see what they have written on their key pages.
5. "Share Widgets"
It is very important to add a way to share your website and Blog content to help grow website visitors, marketing leads and provide customer service. There are two top FREE widgets you can use for your website: Addthis.com or Sharethis.com.
You publish a share widget on each page of content to help increase readership. These widgets should be placed in the website design templates or plug-ins. Here are a few of the top share links:
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How do you attract the most visitors to your updated website? One of the ways is to to have great Search Engine Optimization or SEO. The following video explains SEO in 3-minute video.
7. Key Accounts You Need to Open
In addition to publishing a website / blog, you need to also open important internet accounts to help you market your company and website. Most of these services are Free or are very inexpensive.
- Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn
- gMail and YouTube
- Hotsuite or Tweetdeck
8. Metrics & Reporting
9. Videos and Photos
10. Update Weekly - Website-Blog + Social
Once you have your Website / Blog up and running, you need to update them with fresh new content and let the world know about your wonderful information.