Gordon Currie's 25 Years Of Marketing Experience

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Why Outsource Your Website Updates – It Can Save Your Money!

Most businesses today have a website or are in the process of building one. Once completed and taken live, it should be a matter of simply having staff update it every few days and all is good…..or is it. Read one.

After developing website for over 25 years, the one challenge that most people face with a website is not the development or creation, but the ongoing daily, weekly maintenance. Many businesses assume that’s a fairly easy thing to do and staff should be able to figure it out. If you want to fully leverage to your website and get the maximum you can out of it, then you need to consider the bigger picture.

In addition to regular updates, the whole process of gathering content can be a big struggle. Sure, the first few weeks, we add pictures and new announcements and then it starts to peter off a bit. With weeks, adding news and announcements is left behind and sites start to deteriorate. So here are a few considerations:

  • Adding content regularly is better than waiting every few weeks and then launching a whole bunch of new images and text. Its easier to track whats working and how people are interacting with the site.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something that needs regular attention and updates. Not only for the search engines but so you can track keywords and see what’s driving business and traffic. We don’t necessarily want thousands of visits if they are not looking at the right page or taking some call to action. Search engines visit sites on a regular basis and so you can track in your stats what results you will see. If it sits stagnant, you don’t see much growth and content gets dated and old.
  • Engaging visitors is critical. Especially on a website. Consider for a moment on Facebook, we all like to see LIKES. But its not that relevant. Ideally you want to see comments and shares. That’s called engagement. So with a website, you need to be collecting information on visitors, getting them to bookmark your site, tell others about it, sign up for your newsletter or enter a contest. If they are not interacting, then you have a problem. The site becomes a virtual postcard that people look at then disappear.

A Webmaster is typically a person who monitors and updates the website for business. Larger business see the value in having someone onboard either part-time or fulltime.

Smaller firms will usually appoint a staff member to make the changes or use a IT person (computer geek / network person). That works but there is so much work that many on staff don’t understand it or don’t have the time to look into.

When I provide Webmaster / Website Management duties, they start with basic updates. But the also include:

  • Looking after the Search Engine Optimization. Its critical for most sites and content needs to include key words and phrases so you get great listings. You can focus on quality traffic that generates sales and inquiries about your services and products. Search engines like Google can generate LOTS of dollars in business simply using your SEO efforts on the site. Free unsponsored listings can increase your business a lot. Once you nail down whats working, then you start to look at campaigns that require payment.
  • Collecting Email addresses and information on visitors is very important. But you have to word the forms and requests for someone’s email properly and then ensure you store their private information and keep accurate records. You also need to provide an easy way for people to unsubscribe. This all takes time and professional understanding.
  • If you have an Email List or wish to send out newsletters or announcements, how do you go about this? Can you just email them? Not always. Webmasters work with programs that allow you to send to a few, a targeted group etc and maintain a formal way to increase your business online without upsetting anyone.
  • The statistics on websites should be monitored daily / weekly as it can provide information that aids in generating sales and valuable intelligence on WHO is visiting and interacting with your online business! Its takes a pro to review Google Analytics and interpret what is working.
  • Another value tool for websites is Surveys. There are many different kinds and sometimes you have to run a short survey first and then down the road as the people who have taken it, if they would answer some more questions. Or enter a contest or promotion. Sadly, most people running surveys/contests run way to many questions and poorly word these questions. Even a simple contest requires well written questions, forms that separate the first and last name, rules and terms of use, questions in a particular order etc. Who is going to ensure that it looks and works properly? You cannot expect staff to manage this with limited experience.

Many businesses like to see reviews, testimonials, video links or embedded video. Adding this to even a basic website can be challenging. Once again, it needs to be done properly or you may embarrass yourself and bring ridicule to your profession.

Over the past number of years, I have helped clients develop password protected areas on a website so that my clients can provide information to their clients in a safe, protected and private area. This is not something that you can mess with, it takes a good understanding of the web technologies. Not something a part-time staff will know.

So to wrap up, over the years, businesses came to me and admitted that they don’t keep their websites up, its time consuming and its not at the “top of the list”. Getting business and looking after clients is more important. Besides, they say, its doubtful they can afford a fulltime staff member to just look after the website.
This is why my part-time Webmaster services are getting to be more popular. You pay a fraction of what a fulltime person would charge, don’t have to worry about taxes, benefits, UI and all the other costs. Simply consider contracting a Webmaster to look after your site, budget a certain amount each month and reap the benefits for a portion of the cost.

Cheers

Gordon

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May 5th, 2015

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