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
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.
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 Do not allow out of date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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.