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These days most businesses have a website. It is expected that you will have a website address to give to your customers and prospects. As a result, it doesn’t matter what business you are in, there are literally thousands of competitors out there in cyberspace. Whether your business depends on attracting casual web browsers or on using your website as an information source for people who already know your name, it will pay you to follow certain basic rules. Think of them as “good housekeeping practices” but, in our opinion, they are essential.

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1) Your Website is a reflection of you
Over time we all change and this is particularly true in business, especially at the beginning. Our businesses will inevitably evolve as they grow, our goals will take clearer shape and our range of services or products will expand. It is important that we remember that creating a website is not a one-time event, our website too must evolve to reflect all the changes in our business. We strongly recommend that you continuously update the content of your website to match the evolution of your business.

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2) Stale information is a “turn-off”
Many websites include information that is connected to events. We announce “special offers”, seminars and conferences, classes and training courses, new products and services. As we said above, it is very important to make a website reflect your business, it is an ideal place to advertise all such special events. However, we have to remember that most such announcements have a date attached to them. Once the offer is over or the seminar has taken place, it looks foolish to leave it on your website. Do not allow out of date information to linger on your website, it looks unprofessional and can turn off your website visitors.

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3) Specials are important
We mentioned above special events and special offerings. They are the life- blood of a vital and active business. They convey a dynamic image to anyone who is interested. Your website is the ideal vehicle to announce “specials” - it is easy and inexpensive to do, the announcements can be complete and informative (space is not a constraint) and, with the use of a few graphical techniques, you can easily turn mere announcements into catchy advertisements. “Specials” are an important way promote your business and to convey a dynamic image, at the same time. We advise you to create features and special offerings to add to your website regularly.

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4) Small changes speak volumes
You will be amazed how just small changes to your website can give it a new and fresh “look” - the changing of a colour or a key “tag line”, the adding or changing of photographs, the adding of a page. We recommend that you consider making relatively small adjustments once or twice a year. Without incurring a huge cost, you can substantially refresh your website and create a new look that speaks volumes about the vitality of your business.

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5) A website is a marketing tool
We have talked above about keeping your website up to date, about not allowing information to go “stale”, about the importance of “specials” and about making small changes to the look of your website. While your website might be your main marketing vehicle, it cannot be your only one. We strongly recommend making your website the hub of your marketing wheel. However, the spokes of that marketing wheel are also very important, the wheel doesn’t work without them. Keep up your networking, hand out your brochures and business cards, send out your mailings and your electronic letters, advertise where it makes sense, etc., etc. All of those essential activities can be designed to attract people to your website where they can learn all they want to know about you and your business.
We strongly recommend that you maintain a comprehensive mailing list of contacts and that you keep your name in the front of their minds by writing to them all regularly. All of the changes and additions to your website that we have mentioned above give you a great reason to write to your contacts announcing the change, the new product, the special. If you write electronically, you can easily build into your message a direct link to the new feature on your website. The response rate will surprise you.
A website is a very important marketing tool – use it.

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6) Continuously update your website
If you follow our advice in whole or in part, you will have a dynamic website and it will convey a dynamic image. Many people store up their website changes until "major surgery" is required. This can be very expensive. We believe that website maintenance should be a continuous process. Not only does continuous maintenance ensure that your website is always current and relevant, it also makes the changes less traumatic and difficult. Your website will continuously evolve and we believe that the continuity is important to a professional image.

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7) Consider buying a maintenance package
Many companies that are in the website design business also offer website maintenance. Some of them charge by the hour for such services and others offer annual fixed price contracts. Take a look at the dynamics of your website and look at what is best for you. Consider buying a fixed-price maintenance package because not only will it fix your cost but, in our opinion, it will also make you more inclined and willing to continuously update your website.

 

“A website is an infinitely variable and flexible marketing tool,
make sure you are taking full advantage of that flexibility”.


 

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