If you are thinking of spring cleaning your website this Spring, you may find it useful to consider what ‘great service’ looks like when it comes to this crucial tool in your PR & sales toolbox.
Too often I have people who come to me and my team because they’ve got various problems with their websites which they want us to fix. We’re happy to help however it frustrates me that they got into that situation in the first place. Occasionally of course, it’s unavoidable because something unforeseen has happened.
Often though, it’s because they have not been given good advice, they went for cheap and it’s now expensive or they simply didn’t know what they didn’t know. They are now left with a website that’s dated, unresponsive, insecure and they cannot fix it because they can’t get hold of the original creator, or they don’t know how to access the back end, or they’ve bought something really cheap and there’s no meaningful ongoing support. Who wants to wait two weeks for someone in a call centre somewhere to deal with your ‘ticket’ when your website breaks? If you’ve bought a very cheap DIY website, then you have to sit in a very long queue.
Many will leave their websites to fester online for years, not realising that it doesn’t do their business any justice, it drives people away at a time when being visible in the digital space is vital to business success. It can also deter people in the real world from engaging with you, even if they’ve met you face to face!
Why? Often now we meet people face to face (or via an video call) we like them, want to know more and we check them out online. If your website is poor and dated or its insecure – what is that saying about you and your business?
With that in mind, if you are considering investing in a new website with someone like me and my team – here are the signs which should give you confidence. If any of these are not discussed, then my advice would be to move on.
- PLAN – you need to be very clear what you want your website to do and what are the vital elements of it. What’s the purpose? Is it an interactive online brochure? Does it require an ecommerce element? Does it need a booking appointments facility? Is it going to host courses? Are you going to blog regularly? No web designer should be ‘making it up’ as they go along, though they can advise you on what elements you may need. You have a plan for other tasks in your business, this is no exception.
- USE TRUSTED SYSTEMS – if you go for a bespoke or specially created system with a website designer then you could be asking for trouble later. What if you want to move on to another provider? What if that business owner closes their business? What if they go bust? All of these are scenarios I’ve had to deal with. I use tried and trusted platforms which are used by millions, are constantly being updated and which are user-friendly such as WordPress, Joomla and OpenCart.
- SECURITY – you need to be confident that your new website will be secure, and this must be discussed. If not, users will see, as a minimum, an insecure message and advice to move away. Also, it’s clear that search engines will downgrade your website if it’s insecure and may even make sure it’s invisible in the future. They won’t proactively make it prominent. How is that going to help your business?
- DESIGN – you want your website to look exceptional with great branding and branding assets and that’s where we come into our own. It needs to look modern, user-friendly and a great digital place to be. Coupled with your plan, we can ensure you are visible online and standing out from your competitors. We can do this, and you can check us out here - https://www.midwinterwebdesign.co.uk
- CONTENT – you need exceptional wording on your website which clearly tells visitors what you do and how you do it. The words also impact how search engines place and measure your website. Therefore, SEO is important and so is word count. This sounds easy, and it’s not. If you can’t do this yourself, we can bring in a partner to do it with you.
- VIDEO & ANIMATION: these are assets which explain visually what you do and can set you apart from the rest. These also drive traffic as search engines love video too. They are also a great way to showcase testimonials, explain complex systems or liven up a dull topic.
- PICTURES – these are so important for your website and they need to represent the uniqueness of your business. Don’t rely on stock shots of perfect people with bright white teeth. No one is fooled by that. They know it’s not you or your team. Ensure that the images reflect, you, your team and your business. Invest in professional photography.
- SOCIAL MEDIA – one of the key benefits of social media is that you can drive traffic and interest backwards and forwards between your social media streams and your website. The two areas will enhance each other. Social media makes you and your business visible however you cannot control social media platforms so your own website (that you own and control) acts as your anchor in the digital space.
- MAINTENANCE OF YOUR SITE – this is critical and has to be done. The digital space evolves constantly. If you manage your own site, you will have to keep updating and changing and keeping abreast of changes relevant to the system on which your website sits. The alternative is to use a provider like us to manage your site and maintain it over time. That way we can fix unpredictable problems, update as and when needed and you, as a business owner, will not need to worry about it.