In an industry that is changing by the minute, it comes as a surprise to many business owners how complex structuring a new website has become. Whether you’re starting from scratch, or upgrading an existing site, there are a whole lot of considerations that go into the initial design, content and development. It’s easy to get lost in this process and put all your time and energy into the build. Too often little thought goes into mapping out the ongoing maintenance required once you go live.
The excitement of launching a beautiful, competition-busting new website, quickly deflates when your go-live spike of friends, staff and family traffic drop back to zilch…and the digital crickets start chirping.
Why does this happen? It’s modern, fast, responsive, attractive and on-page SEO’d. Visitors should be flocking, clicking and engaging. You should be rising the ranks.
Simply build it and expect they will come? Nope, not even close. Users are interacting with internet content in a variety of sophisticated ways. It has become quite the challenge to get your website shining brighter than those of your competitors. You can’t just build the exterior of a house off the beaten track and expect people to find it, buy it and move in.
Internet users (and Google bots) have come to expect a ludicrous amount of action, interaction and engagement. Your site is more than a marketing tool, it’s an extension of your business – it needs to be managed. Technical management, customer service, budgeting, messaging and advertising. Just like your offline business.
Technical Website Management
The mechanics of your site are as important for a great user experience (UX), as they are for good rank and domain authority. If you don’t service this vehicle, Google will not want their customers taking you for a test drive.
Monitor Site Speed
Poor site speed on desktop or mobile is simply annoying for your customers – the truth is, today’s time-poor web users will give up on you within seconds. It’s for this reason that the faster and more responsive the site – the more favourably it is looked upon by search engines. Curious about how fast your site is running? Check your site speed here.
Test for toxic or broken links and URLs
Broken links (both internal and external) and 404 errors can earn you a bad reputation. It’s critical to regularly sweep your site to make sure it is fully operational, and not leading your customers out the door. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of dodgy spammy sites out there linking to the good guys. If a toxic site is linking to your domain – it doesn’t look good, and can result in a costly penalty with no easy ‘undo’ button.
Site Security and Back-ups
There is more information than you might realise stored in the digital coffers with every website visit. Quality security is essential to ensure your important information, and that of your visitors doesn’t wind up in the clutches of the wrong people. A security breach can be a costly and frightening experience.
If website back ups didn’t exist, developers would never sleep. Your website should be backed up regularly, so if the worst happens and it crashes (gasp!), you can have it back up and running in fine form within no time (phew).
Customer experience maintenance
Is there anything more valuable than knowing what your customers think? Allow customer feedback wherever you can. Whether it be a review system, contact us form, or online chat facility, consumer insight is powerful. You can’t fix problems you’re not aware of, and in digital, the little things can make a world wide web of difference.
Closely monitor and tweak UX
Interacting with your site should always be easy and enjoyable for your customers. They expect nothing less than seamless navigation through the pages to effortlessly find the information they’re looking for. The only way to identify areas for improvement in UX is by pinpointing patterns in the user footprints. For that, you need analytics, data tracking, and patience.
So, once you have all that set up and you’re checking, testing and analysing every day, there are only two more things you need to do. The first is to produce and manage content daily.
Importance of Content Management
Without creating fresh, relevant new content on your website – you’re just repeating the same old sales message whenever a customer walks through your digital doors. Without creating new pages and updating the existing – to search engines it kinda looks like your doors are closed. It was only a few years ago you could solve this ‘need for action’ with a blog. It’s true you still need a regularly updated blog; but today’s content marketing is so much more involved than “Hello world, here’s our weekly special.”
Build a useful resource hub for your customers – not just an extended sales pitch. Share your knowledge, experiences, expertise and ideas. Your blogs should be relevant to your industry and aim to gift high quality, helpful advice to your target. There is no industry in the world where the consumers have no questions – answer them!
- Case Studies:
Don’t just tell people, show your prospects how you’ve added value to the life or business of others just like them. They want proof. Your happy customers are ambassadors that can instill trust and comfort in other potential customers – and inspire action.
- Social Media:
Your customers are not sitting around on Google all day, they’re socialising all over the internet. This is where you can connect and interact with people on a different and deeper level. Personify your brand and build a community. Again, good social content can be tricky – it’s not the place for barraging people with sales pitches. It must be consistent, frequent, quality and engaging. Create video’s and how-to’s, invite people behind the scenes so they feel like they are valued, and included in your story.
- Email Subscriptions:
Create ebooks and buyers guides, or offer discounts and promotions to build your mailing list of engaged users. Keep in touch and nurture your relationship with them often. This means even more unique and helpful content – plus a sprinkle of product or service offerings just for these valued VIP’s.
The last; but certainly not least job on your maintenance list – advertise.
Now you need to market your site to get the traffic flowing and present your wonderful design, SEO, content management, customer service and technical management efforts to your ideal audience.
We’re not kidding. Effective site maintenance takes a LOT of maintaining.
Whenever we quote a site build or upgrade we’re always very clear on the time, expertise and work that goes into successfully managing a website. We don’t want to construct just the exterior of your digital HQ. We want your asset to be weatherproof, well and truly on the map, and buzzing with happy entertained occupants that spend top dollar – and keep coming back.
Anchor Digital are a crew of strategists, creatives, coders, account managers and techs. We are a digital agency powered by your business goals.
With Anchor in your corner you can expect tailored expertise and measurable results. Our business model is simple: Consult, Create, Convert.
Through close collaboration, accountability and total transparency, Anchor combine the forces that set your digital brand sailing. From the ground up, we’re your partners in climb. Drop us a line.