Why You Should Take Control Over Your Small Business Website
Your website is probably full of outdated information, and frankly it’s giving you a headache every time you think about it.
It’s not your fault, really.
Because by the time you get all your new materials together to make changes, you either get distracted…
… Or your webmaster/designer is too busy – and well things just get put on the back burner.
So your site just sits there, growing stale – like bread left out of the bag. But you think how bad could this be for your business, right?
Well, more than you might think.
When I talk to my clients, I’m always chewing their ears off about how important it is for them to always be uploading as much FRESH consumer information onto their websites as possible.
You see when a visitor drops by your business site, they are probably looking for information – like answers to their questions or some helpful articles, demonstration videos, how-to tutorials, product photos or special reports about your services.
The more new content you put online, the more people and (and search engines like Google) will come back to your site.
I strongly believe that ALL small business websites should be like the old sales adage, “The more you tell, the more you sell”.
Nowadays, more and more consumers turn to the Internet as their combination phone book, research tool and comparison-shopping guide.
Typically people will search Google to see your website rather than drive 2 minutes to see the same product on your store shelves. Plus many more would rather email you than call to talk with you.
If your small business doesn’t have the information people want, they will just keep searching online until they find the answers they need to make an informed buying decision – even from one of your competitors.
But one of the main obstacles holding owners back from building a powerful information website – one that showcases their expertise, product and services – and attracts more consumers – is the simple fact that they don’t actually control their websites!
Yes, I know this is a subject that many small business owners (and professional web designers) are doing their best to ignore…
Most websites use web programming like HTML/CSS (68.0% of all websites still do).
These types of sites are difficult to update, modify or add stuff to unless you are skilled in web programming.
So while I do believe almost anyone can be taught how to use a web editing program like Dreamweaver to make minor updates (changing a date or switching out an image or two), anything more complex will require that you use a professional.
NOTE: And for you folks who say stuff like ‘I could probably figure this out myself, but I haven’t got the time…” – no matter what your friends and family tell you, unless you have took classes or read more than “Web Design for Dummies” – NO you are NOT as good as a professional web geek.
So Don’t Try this at Home & Screw Up Your Website! I will charge you more when I come fix it for you. Not being snarky – just the facts ma’am, just the facts.
Due to the fact that you will need professional help – even though you might OWN a website – you don’t really CONTROL it. And CONTROL over your website is everything when it comes to online marketing.
Small Businesses and Web Designers
Control is so important online, that in the computer industry that are laws of security – and almost all of them have to do with access or control over systems, networks and websites.
Basically all the security laws can be summed up in one sentence, “If a bad guy can change, add to, modify and alter your stuff or has unrestricted access to your stuff, it’s not your stuff anymore.”
Now I say this, not to freak you out about the honesty or trustworthiness of your webmaster or web designer.
Yet I want to make you aware (if you weren’t already) that if you can’t CONTROL what goes on with your website [or when changes are made or how quickly they are made], it’s not really your website – even if you’re paying for it.
Think back… how many times, have you wanted to make some minor little change or another on your site – something that needed to be done ASAP and you had to wait – maybe a couple of hours or even a few days – because your webmaster or designer had to do it.
This is not to point fingers at any webmasters or web editors (hey, I work as one myself) but unless that web designer or developer is your paid employee – all freelance web businesses replies on more than one client to pay their bills.
This means no matter how well-intentioned they might be, freelance designers have to prioritize their work schedule and projects just like every other business person.
And quite frankly, sometimes your minor website fix – which is critical to you – gets lost in the shuffle of the daily workflow or it falls in between the cracks of some MAJOR project they are currently working on.
When this happens it can be very frustrating for you, I know. I’m trying to clear away a backlog for a client as right now. I don’t like it, but it happens.
Which why as a small business owner and a web developer, I strongly recommend that you must gain control over your website – so that you can quickly and easily handle all those small changes on your own.
I won’t mind, believe me. I have enough on my plate!
“But I don’t want to become a computer nerd! I’m too busy to learn all that Dreamweaver stuff.”
I hear ya. That is why I encourage all my clients to get a WordPress blog for their business. This in my opinion is the best long-term solution to the website control issue.
If you already have a nice-looking site, you can simply add a blog as an “addition” like an extra room on a house. But if you are just starting-out or starting-over, then a WordPress blog can become you whole standalone website.
WordPress Blogs and Online Marketing
Some things are just made to go together like peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, burgers and fries, Spock and Kirk – WordPress blogs and online marketing.
What is a WordPress blog?
In simple terms, a blog (of any flavor) is a CMS (Content Management System). A blog is a special kind of website that has a easy accessible ‘back-door” that you can enter online (like your online bank account).
Once you are inside, using a “dashboard” (like a car dashboard) you change everything (yes, EVERYTHING) from the words to images to the entire layout – without having to know any web code (okay some, but not a lot) and without having to pay a web designer to do it for you!
A WordPress blog allows you to have complete control when and what you can add to your business website.
No more waiting…
No more excuses…
No more high hourly rates…
With a WordPress blog installed, you can start moving as much of your marketing, sales and customer service materials online as quick as you can. Remember, the more you ‘tell’ prospective customers, the more comfortable they will become with you and the more you will sell.
(1) Go talk to your web design team about setting a business blog (get WordPress).
(2) Gather together ALL your business cards, brochures, white papers, magazine tear-outs, print ads and other marketing materials. Use them to hand write out a list of the types of problems or issues your products/services solve or help with.
(3) Find the pain in your ideal client’s or customer’s current situation. What are their problems, fears and frustrations? Don’t know? Ask, then shut-up and listen.
They can have BIG pains: What’s bugging them in their personal life? What are they struggling with in their business? What keeps them awake at night?
Or it could be small one: What’s for dinner? In any case find out what it is and write it down.
(4) Now grab a ink pen and paper (the original i-pad) and take an hour to write out the a list of the 20 most frequently asked questions you get when talking to people about your business.
Look back the list of customer (pains) problems and your list of what you can do to solve them. Just answer the questions out loud – like you are actually talking to someone about it.
Now take one of the 20 questions and answer it just like you did before, except this time, talk out loud as you type.
DON’T stress over the grammar, just spell-check what you wrote and post it on your business blog. Repeat for all 20 questions, until you are done.
(5) This is online marketing 101 – learning to think like your customers and helping them solve their problems!
If you have any comments or questions I invite you to contact me here (but I warn you, don’t ask for a free consultation or a free marketing plan – I’ll just tell ignore you.)