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In almost every business publication there are articles telling us how, as a small business, we need to have a website. This is very true! The Internet is where most people go to find a product or service that they are interested in or may have heard about. And, if your business is capable of serving customers throughout the globe, what better way to keep your information available to that huge target audience than an Internet presence?
So, we either do the website ourselves or hire a web designer (who knows the latest trends and techniques) to put together a website that will help bring in new clients. We spend a great deal of time compiling the content and working out the details to make sure that our site has all the information that our visitors will want.
Finally it goes live and…. except for putting our website address in our signature lines of our emails, on our promotional material, and mentioning it when we get a chance… we just leave it sitting there.
I am the first to admit that I don't update my website as much as I should. I do change the homepage whenever something is worth mentioning and I add archives of my articles and newsletters. But, the remaining 100 pages (or so) are rarely changed. This is not good!
Our website is a piece of advertising that is always available to be seen so it needs to be kept up to date. They say that people need to see our company name seven times before they take action. But that doesn't mean they can't see our company name seven times in seven different ways.
When visitors come by our website, they see what we have to offer. They may even have to return many times in order to see everything that our site has to offer. But, they may not continue to return if they find that there is nothing new for them to look at.
As small business owners, we are often looking for new ways to impress our clients. As website owners, we should be thinking the same way. We need to offer new and interesting content on our websites.
Here are just a few things you can do to keep your website looking new:
1. If you write articles, be sure to archive them on your website. And, the same holds true if you publish a newsletter. People will continue to sign up for your newsletter (after they have read your archives) so that they are sure to receive the next issue automatically and won't have to worry about remembering to head to the website to find it.
2. Add a news headline service to your homepage. This will allow news stories to be included on your website with very little effort on your part.
3. If you have something new or exciting happening in your company, add that to your homepage. If you are nominated for an award or have just registered with your Chamber of Commerce, be sure to mention it on your website. It doesn't have to be a whole page of information, just a little highlighted box that stands out.
4. If you designed your own website and you have learned something new, show it off on your site (or use your site as your testing ground). Or, if you have a designer doing your website and you happen to hear that she/he is taking a course to upgrade their skills, why not ask them if they would like to test out their new skills on your site? Some designers will do the improvement at no cost to you, as they need somewhere to do a test run.
5. If you are featured in a publication or on any other form of media, or if your articles are published, be sure to have a page on your website to list these accomplishments. Then, each time you are in a new publication, you can add those to your website.
6. And testimonials… these are extremely important to your company's reputation. Be sure to have either a page dedicated to those kind words or scatter them throughout your website in a way that they will stand out when your visitors are going through your pages. Then, as you get new testimonials, you can replace others or add to them.
There are many other ways to keep your site up-to-date… alternate your graphics; update your links; offer a special for any holidays that are approaching; and so much more.
Use your imagination and remember that the more information you offer on your website, the more likely others will want to have a link on their site that leads to yours. And this can help in your placement in search engines.
Finding the time to make updates, if you are the designer of your site, can be a challenge. Try to do a little at a time or hire a web designer to keep your site up to date.
Janice Byer is the founder of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services (http://www.docutype.net), a professional Virtual Assistance and Website Design company, specializing in helping small business owners get ahead. She is a certified Canadian Virtual Assistant and Master Virtual Assistant and winner of the Most Successful Start Up 2000 and Home Based Business of the Year 2000 Awards
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