It’s common to hear about interesting event being held by an area business and suddenly want to find out more. So you hop on Google and track down the website, only to find the site hasn’t been updated in four years.
What gives? Why isn’t the website updated? You know the business is active – but the site looks like a ghost town.
Why wouldn’t a business or organization keep their website updated?
Web Company Issues
One of the more common problems we hear about are business owners who don’t have access to edit their website because it was built by someone else that has dropped out of contact or has become slow to respond.
If you are having a hard time with the company or individual that created your website, there are two questions to ask first:
- Do you have a website update/maintenance plan? Check your website contract (you do have one, right?). If you paid a one-time fee for a web site build, you may not be entitled to continual site updates.
- Is everything clear between you and the company or website developer? There may be some form of miscommunication of expectations. Reach out to them to find out the best way to get your website updates to them.
If a company is genuinely being difficult, sorting out the tangle can be complicated. We recommend heading off problems by registering your own domain name under your own domain registrar account, and making sure all expectations are clear in regards to updates and website ownership.
Talk to your web development company. They may offer monthly maintenance packages. Or, depending on your website platform, you may be able to update the site yourself.
Updating your own website can seem imposing and, depending on the platform your site was built on, it may be difficult.
If your site was built on WordPress or another user-friendly content management system, however, you can easily make changes yourself with client training provided by a company like Appletree MediaWorks. We like to use WordPress to build client websites because it keeps the end-user in mind. That includes you, the site owner.
If you can write up a letter in Microsoft Word or send someone an email, you have enough knowledge to edit a page or create your own posts in WordPress. All of our website packages include client training so that if you choose to update your website you can. Of course we also have a staff that will do your website updates immediately for you if you prefer.
Time & Priority
Keeping your website site information up to date may not be a priority – you might have plenty of business at the moment and you just don’t have enough time to get around to editing your website.
Website updates do not have to be long and arduous, however. An update on current events, a new welcome message, or current photos of your business is enough to remind potential customers and search engines alike that your site is still relevant. Many clients also like to have a Facebook or Twitter feed integrated into their website so they only need to update social media or their website and their information makes it out to everyone in real-time.
You may believe that you don’t need to think about updates right now. You have plenty of clients and nothing has changed. And this may be true, but consider the following:
- Keeping your site ‘alive’ and making regular updates – even a couple times a month – makes Google’s search robots more likely to check back regularly and see your site as important, this is part of Search Engine Optimization.
- Regular updates let visitors know your website is active and if updates are interesting enough, it gives visitors more reason to come back to your website again. Those visitors are more likely to turn into regular customers.
- Keeping your website up to date and keeping your information accurate makes you appear more professional than if you let things become old and outdated.
These days people are quick to look online for information and judge a business accordingly. You want them to like what they find and to know immediately that you are still in business and active. Think about the great things your company or organization does, why wouldn’t you want to spread your good news and why you should be chosen over your competitors?
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Have you noticed that some companies, small or large, seem to have it together when it comes to their web presence? Their website is set up and interactive, their social media is engaging and popular, their presence seems to permeate every corner of the web. From Yellow Pages to Yelp, you know exactly who they are. How do they build a web presence?
The Web Presence and the Website
A basic website is your first step towards establishing a web presence. Your website should be a home-base for all of your web content. It’s what should pop up first in a search for your business. Your website is where people should be able to find all of your content in one focused location.
A website does not need to be overly complex or cluttered with information – in fact, there are benefits to keeping it clean and easy to navigate. Visitors to your site should be able to find out what your business is and how to contact you with minimal effort.
Don’t think you can just build a website and forget it. Websites only thrive in search engine rankings if you are providing valuable content to people and updating it regularly. If you don’t have any knowledge to share, you can set up a “News” page and let people know what your business is up to. This kind of content keeps people engaged and gives them a reason to come back.
The Web Presence and Social Media
Do you really need all that? Well, it certainly helps. Giving people more possibilities to land on information about your business means they will be more likely to choose your business when the time comes. If you are already making regular updates to your website, consider utilizing a program such as Hootsuite to easily update all of your social media outlets at once with topically similar information.
The Web Presence and Directory Sites
The goal of directory sites is to make your business available on any site someone might happen upon. Anywhere from Superpages to Bing to Yelp, your company should have a page. Sometimes these pages might already be created and you must claim them to correct and update the existing information. At other times, you will get to set everything up from scratch.
Plenty of for-pay services offer to fill in all directory sites in one fell swoop. There are also sites such as Moz which scans everything for you and presents a nice To Do list on what you still need to fill in. This gives you a little more control over which information gets entered on each individual directory.
While you’re at it, if you have a physical location, be sure to check it out on Google Maps to make sure your info is valid. This information may be tied to your G+ account, so if you’ve already set that up, it might already be accurate.
If this all seems a bit much and hard to keep up with, don’t throw your hands up and miss out on potential business. Contact Appletree Mediaworks. We will be more than happy to work with you and help boost your web presence.