You Have a New Website, Now What?
Many business owners believe that a website is a one-off project, something that you give to a techie or a web designer to build. Then once it is launched, that is it you’re done! But this could not be further away from reality. A new website launch is just the start of your digital marketing journey.
If you have used a professional to build your new site, they would have some conversion tactics built-in, like a call to action (CTAs) and optimizing your pages for search engines.
This is the bare minimum though; As a small business owner, you should build on this and have a strategy that keeps your website alive. A website is as good as an umbrella, it’s only good when you use it.
There are two main elements that you need here, to keep your website alive:
No.1: The Site’s Physical Health
This means security configuration, functionality maintenance, updates, upgrades, active monitoring, and backups post-launch.
You always need a professional in your corner, to take care of your website’s health on an ongoing basis. Think of it as a preventive maintenance strategy that keeps your website performing at its best and gives you peace of mind.
Waiting for a crisis to strike, a hack, or a malware infection isn’t the best strategy–especially for a business website. But sadly, many people look at professional maintenance plans solely as a cost they can avoid. In reality, a website care plan offers great protection for your business investment and reputation, it is like insurance.
Having your website down for unresolved technical issues or having it hacked has far-reaching consequences beyond the few dollars you invest in a monthly or annual professional maintenance plan.
Why should I invest in a professional website care plan if I’m using WordPress and it already has automatic updates, can’t I just do it myself?
If you are that person who can frequently change their own car’s oil and filter then by all means you can do the same thing with your website, but the truth is that most of us go to a professional to get the car serviced adequately, website maintenance is the same.
Automatic updates aren’t always a good idea because you’re not only updating WordPress’s framework, but you also have your theme, as well as every single plugin that your website uses. This is part of its infrastructure and framework–not to mention updates to the programming language (PHP). The theme and plugins are made by different developers who do not test their products together in an identical environment like yours.
There are many chances where plugins conflict with each other or with a certain version/update of the theme that you are using. I have seen many botched auto-updates that brought a website down and left it exposed, visitors got a message that WordPress has an error. I do not have to tell you what something like that will do to your business’s reputation and the level of trust and authority that you’re trying to build with your audience.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have got the business owner who doesn’t have professional maintenance and doesn’t do any updates whatsoever automatically or else!
Over time technology moves forward, and PHP, WordPress as well as your theme and plug-in developers, would have discovered problems or even security threats in their old code, the good ones issue a patch in the form of an update the moment the problem comes to their attention.
Leaving that old code on your website without that latest update opens your website to bad actors who can easily exploit this weakness and do harm! Either by involving your website in attacks against others, defacing it completely, posting propaganda, or holding it for ransom until you pay them!
Having a professional maintenance plan ensures that your website and business reputation are well protected. Even in case of an unforeseen disaster, you still have your daily backups and a professional helping you restore your website to its optimum condition within in a few hours rather than days or weeks.
Now that we have covered the website health part, we can move to item number two:
No.2: Performance And Growth
Before we go further, let me tell you about that big chunk of inquiries that our company receives, they have a common question:
Do you do SEO?
Our answer is usually yes and no!
As a business owner, if you are thinking of paying a third party to work on your Google search results and increase your Google analytics, without your involvement – think again. This may not lead to the ROI or results that your business is looking for.
We suggest having a solid understanding of this process and what needs to be done to improve your site’s ranking. As the business and site owner, you know your target audience and potential customers better than anyone. So if you do use a freelancer or outsource your SEO needs, be sure to be connected with the work they do.
The best strategy here, is to start with, is organic SEO (search engine optimization), based on the search rankings that Google and other search engines will notice.
This may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Showing that a website is not stale is easily achievable if you write, post and then share everyone (e.g. social media platforms). Your blogs do not have to be lengthy; the point is to create new content that shares relevant backlinks and increases your SEO ranking.
Let us say you are an HVAC professional and you have competition in the same–or nearby city or town. Both you and your competitor have great-looking websites that have been professionally built. However, One of you did not touch their website after launching it.
The other one is sharing good tips almost weekly, things like: “how to choose the right furnace for your space”, “when is it the time to top up your air conditioning cooler”, and “What are the benefits of periodic cleaning of your air duct system” etc.
Who do you think Google would love more?
And who do you think will have their website visitors more engaged, and wanting to come back for the next trip? Or the next time they need an HVAC-related consult or service?
I will let you in on a little secret here: I’m not typing this article; I’m dictating my phone! I find it easier to share my ideas this way and it makes me avoid writer’s block, every time I think that writing is not for me!
The answer is clear–the website that has put in the hard work and engaged their visitor with relevant content.
Talk about your business. How you do stuff. What makes you special? Share education tips with your community and prospective customers. Then, you need to share with the world via your website! This is the best organic growth that you can do for your business.
The website that’s alive always wins.
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How Do We Continue To Engage?
In addition to maintenance and making use of SEO algorithms, you need to lead your customers to your website via engagement.
It is no surprise that social media marketing is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to engage with your audience. However, you do need to do so carefully. Share consistently and share content that is what your target audience wants to see. To make it easier to find information, consider creating landing pages vs simply sharing your homepage.
You should have a consistent email list of potential, current, and past customers. Communicate with them! Once you have created a new product, or have a new blog, or want to share a press release, share this with your list. Email marketing is imperative to supporting the work of your website.
However, as you maintain and engage with your website, it is always important to consider the user experience and continue the work from there.