You have just made the decision to create a new website for your business. It looks awesome, runs fast, generates additional revenue, and acts as a powerful representation of your brand. Time to unplug the mouse and keyboard and call it a day? Think again.
The key to a successful website with a long life is regular updates and maintenance. A website, after all, is a dynamic product that represents your business, and is really never a “finished product”, as there is always room for improvement. The Internet is an ever-changing environment; with newer technologies and software’s being developed each day, the code behind your website eventually becomes dated. Outdated code can result in performance interruptions over time; some sites can suffer from broken links, slow loading pages, security vulnerabilities, and a plethora of other complications. Performing regular maintenance on your site keeps it running smoothly, and ensures that your customers enjoy a positive website experience.
Being up to date doesn’t stop at back end maintenance; every business can keep their content dynamic by regularly adding blog posts, testimonials, and internal news. You can even link your social media to your website and have it posted for you when you upload new content. This way, customers, clients, and leads that follow you on various social media can be notified when new content is added, thus driving traffic to your site. Got an e-commerce store on your site? Regularly updating products will make your store seem more “kept”, and encourage consumers to regularly visit your website. Having a consistent flow of product updates will give consumers a reason to visit your site and keep current with what you have to offer. The same goes for company news, insights, and updates.
Don’t give your web visitors any reason to feel uncertain. Problems with your website or outdated content can make your brand illegitimate. So regular content and maintenance updates will not only ensure brand legitimacy, but also make your visitors feel comfortable and confident in your brand. Check out Web Toaster’s content marketing packages to help you keep your content fresh, without having to lift a finger. Also, don’t forget to take a look at our “Hosting, Maintenance, & Support” packages for a great night’s sleep, knowing that your website is vacuum-sealed and always fresh.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Arguably, one of the most difficult steps in building a website is the planning process.
A good website will take hours of planning, mapping, proofing, and revising. Many small business owners fail to give planning the importance that it merits, and this is where the problems start. Your website is your business’s digital storefront, and its existence is just as important as any other aspect of your business. Therefore, it should be allotted just as much time and attention as you would give any other facet of your day-to-day operations.
Imagine constructing a house with no plans; the process would be full of headaches, messes, and would take much longer than if it was planned out beforehand. The same way, a webpage should be meticulously planned out as well. The planning process generally should involve setting a purpose, a budget, roles, a target audience, organizing information architecture, and content creation. A well-planned website will have a predefined structure before it is built, and will be proofed multiple times before launch. It’s easy to neglect internal projects for revenue-generating work, but the key is to treat yourself as a client and deliver the same (if not stronger) strategy and quality of work that you would for someone else.
Although websites are flexible, and can be changed, poor planning often can result in poor communication, and inconsistent back and forth between involved parties. Sometimes, this can force developers to make assumptions that might not fulfill the vision of the business, requiring them to backtrack and further prolong the process. Web Toaster provides all our clients with an easy-to-use questionnaire, which helps us get a feel for your business, and allows us to tailor your site to your vision. We also provide a straightforward content form, which will help you map your website and each page’s respective content. Web Toaster’s proven method streamlines the planning process down to the last detail, making your website creation an easy and stress-free process.
So you’ve finally decided that your business needs a website. Great! But now what? What’s the next step? Before the Web Toaster team can drop a line of code, we start the first step with you. Half the battle in creating a site is developing the stuff that goes on the site. This means research, writing content, and creating a purpose for the site. Without these assets, we can’t design or structure a site.
Want to get the ball rolling? Here are a few things to have before we start building:
Establish the purpose of your website
You know that you need a site, but why? The purpose of your site will dictate the objective you are trying to achieve with it. Are you showcasing your work to potential clients? Or maybe you want a platform to sell your products. If that’s not the case, then think about what your customers want and why they’re looking at your site for it. The purpose of your site will drive everything from the design, functionality, content, and results.
What are your competitors doing?
If you don’t know what your competitors are up to, a quick Google search can help you get up to speed. Looking at your competition allows you see what they’re doing right and what you can do better. Part of having a website is allow your business to be seen, especially when the majority of people are turning to the internet for information. Research your competition, read reviews, observe what they’re doing, and use this information to gauge what your site should feature.
Think about how you’re communicating to users
Your website is up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In a world where we’re constantly connected users want to know what’s going on all the time. Your business is constantly changing and you should have a method for keeping users updated when something happens. Do you plan on having a blog? A latest news page? Or maybe social media integration? Whatever you decide, your audience needs to know!
Write content for your website
After the purpose, pages and functionality has been established, the grunt work begins with the text. Writing is all about the details. Readers can easily be deterred if your text contains typos or spelling mistakes. Keep your audience in mind and write content that is appropriate for them; some require very technical information while others need simplified content. An average site has a Home, About, Portfolio/Product/Service, and a Contact page. Make sure you have the appropriate text for each section and consider if your site needs any additional pages that need text as well. If you’re lost for words, check out this article (link) or take advantage of our copywriting services (link)!
Are you ready to build or update your website? Let Web Toaster lend a hand!
Effective copywriting is a critical component of your website. After all, aside from the aesthetics, it’s what’s inside that really counts. A consumer is more likely to do business with you if they see a trusted, authoritative brand, which is simply achieved through effective copy. This guide will outline three simple strategies to capture your consumer’s attention and generate leads through effective copy.
Tip 1: Make your content skimmable. Many of your site visitors will not read every single word your website, so you should strive for clear, and concise text on each page of your site. Let’s assume your reader is simply skimming your website; the key information that you’d like them to be aware of should be in larger font, and your titles and subtitles should contain most of the critical information. Sentences should be concise and writing should be elegant, but clear.
Tip 2: Good copy talks about “you”, not “me”. This allows the reader to understand how your product or service will help their specific situation, rather than giving them a broad idea of how the product or service would be useful in general: How will you take care of your customer? How will your product directly benefit your customer’s life or business? For example, Apple advertises their phones’ superior call quality by reminding their consumers of how annoying it is to speak in a loud room, and that Apple phones eliminate the background noise, therefore solving the problem all together.
Tip 3: Always proofread your work multiple times to ensure your copy is error-free, consistent, and professional. Your site’s credibility can be at serious risk if the copy is not thoroughly edited for spelling, grammar, and flow. Remember that your copy is your brand voice, so before you start writing make a decision about what your brand voice is and ensure that all copy is consistent to that voice: Is it formal? Professional? Casual? Edgy? Consumers can learn a lot about your brand just by its voice, so be sure to have a consistent voice throughout the site.
Ultimately, many factors will play into the effectiveness of your copy, but ensuring that you have clear, consumer-focused, consistent copy will make your website much more attractive to the everyday reader. For more information on great copywriting, get in touch with Web Toaster!