When was the last time you cleaned your website? Gave it a thorough scrub, swept away the broken links and freshened up the newsroom? Your website is a 24/7 online marketing presence and, much like junk drawers and closets, the start of a new year is a great time to clean and reorganize.
While some small businesses may opt to build a new site or refresh their homepage design, simply culling your existing website to remove the old and add the new can help your brand to make a positive first impression with web-surfing target audiences.
Focus on completing these five key steps to ensure your website is up-to-date and supporting your online and offline sales processes:
Step 1: Homepage Review
When visiting the homepage of your small business website, is it obvious what your business does and who it serves? Visitors’ attention spans are short, and they are seeking content that demonstrates a strong understanding of their needs and priorities. As businesses evolve, it is easy for the homepage to become outdated or obsolete. Make a punch list of changes you can easily carry out internally, and those which may require programming changes.
Step 2: Message Refinement
Do the key messages incorporated throughout your website copy accurately reflect the value your business will bring to its clients in 2014? As businesses grow, merge and change, so do products and services. While you may have been a burgeoning enterprise when you built your website back in 2010, you may now be the largest provider of X, Y and Z on the Eastern Seaboard.
In addition to ensuring your key message points are relevant and up-to-date, it is important your brand be consistent across all websites and social media platforms.
Step 3: Keyword Analysis
Are the keywords and phrases prospective clients would type in when searching for your product or service peppered throughout your website copy? When you Google these important terms, is your organization’s website returned as a matching result?
While it is important for copy to be readable and easy to understand, incorporating relevant keywords and phrases is crucial to bolstering organic search engine rankings. If you have a CMS (Content Management System), adding extra keywords to the copy is likely a simple fix and a great way to help prospective clients find your company in 2014.
Step 4: Newsroom Updates
Have you hired a new team member, added a product or service, and/or added a new location? Would a website visitor know this by visiting your newsroom?
When your sales pipeline is brimming with qualified leads and full workloads are the order of the day, adding the latest news release or bylined article to your website can easily slip off the radar. To ensure your small business’ newsroom is up-to-date and reflects the latest from your organization, assess not only what news needs to be backfilled, but also who on your team can serve as a point person for proactively updating throughout the year.
Step 5: Multimedia Review
Are the blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, YouTube channel and other platforms linked to your website up-to-date? Can your business commit to consistently updating all of the aforementioned social media marketing channels in 2014?
While it’s great to be an early adopter and maintain a diverse social media presence, it is most important that your small business retains a strong social media presence on the channels where clients, prospects and strategic partners are open to hearing from and engaging with your brand. Further, if these channels are linked to your website, it is important that each supports a consistent brand image and shows your business is up-to-date with all of its online marketing efforts.
Gone are the days when websites were a “set it and forget it” marketing tool. Today, websites are real-time marketing hubs that attract prospects and convert leads into clients. As you begin implementing your 2014 marketing plan, ensure your website is up-to-date and ready to support all marketing and sales initiatives during the upcoming year – and beyond.