I was recently reading an article in The Guardian about cuddly toys that we still hold on to despite them being rather worse for wear. The article, entitled ‘Too much love’, made me smile on a personal level, as I thought about my two daughters’ treasured family friends – a ‘thinner than is healthy’ corduroy pig and a small teddy with a larger than life personality – and wondered when and whether they will eventually get left behind as the mid-teens take force and facebook and snap-chat become just too shiny to resist.
Less nostalgic, but on a similar track, my thoughts divert to the many people I’ve encountered over the past few years who are holding on to a website that really is past its best, but that they really can’t bear to part with – just yet – usually despite knowing that it is no longer serving them well.
3 pretty good reasons your website needs to stay tip-top
- Your website and social media platforms need to work together
Social media vies for our attention every day – it’s the new, shiny thing that draws business owners in, and to be fair setting up a social media account is a darn sight easier than building a website. But in reality, once someone finds you on social media – whether your preferred playground is LinkedIn or Instagram – it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll get to your website sooner or later. If what they see there disappoints, confuses or disillusions, your social media efforts have been wasted.
- As you and your business transform your website needs to keep up
Staying on top in any business is a challenge, and innovation and transformation are pretty much central to business success today. If your website is lagging behind the reality of your business today, that represents a lost opportunity – if you talk about a service in a meeting, be sure your prospect will check out your website for validation before you get back to the desk.
- Fresh website content will make you easier to find
We could spend a lot of time talking about Google algorithms and the black-art of SEO. Instead let’s just keep it simple. If you don’t change your website content on a regular basis (by changing the page content and/or adding fresh content through articles and blog posts) the search engines will soon get bored and forget your website exists. Giving your website content an overhaul will be the first step to reinvigorating your web presence so you and your business become easier to find.
3 reasons you may not have updated your website recently
- Because you feel vulnerable
Your original web developer is either no longer in business or prone to charging you a king’s ransom for anything you ask them to do. If you feel trapped by your website’s heritage, don’t. In most cases you can do a lot yourself with just a little help and guidance, and for every ‘difficult to deal with’ web developer I know, there are two just as capable ones who are easy to deal with and who charge on a fair basis.
2. Because you don’t have time
Then challenge yourself to divert all of the time you usually spend on social media for the next couple of weeks and invest that time in getting your website in tip-top condition. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and the sense of relief and satisfaction you’ll feel once you press publish will be unreal.
3. Because you don’t know what to say
There’s no question, it can be really really difficult to come up with website content that effectively describes what you do. You may find yourself coming back to the same old stock phrases that aren’t really resonating with your target customers.
Finding your words
Writers block is real, but can be a real problem if you’re trying to find the words that describe you, your business or charity, and the value you can bring to your customers. If you don’t know what to say, here are a few things you can do:
- Ask some people to give you independent feedback on your website. Ask people that know what you do – so they can help you to see the gaps – and also people who don’t, and ask them what the website says to them about what you do – this might feel uncomfortable at the time, but it should also spur you into action! Imagine you are talking through what you do for your customers to a good friend. You will probably be relaxed, you’ll talk passionately and energetically, you’ll be real and honest.
- Now do the talking out loud, and record yourself saying it. Then transcribe it, and make this the first draft of your new content. You might surprise yourself as often the way you’re describing what you do will be quite different to your usual spiel. A nifty tool I often use for this is Dragon Dictation – a free app that enables you to just talk and it transcribes it for you as an email which you can then send to yourself. Granted you do need to edit, but the important stuff will be there for you, saving you time typing it up yourself.
- Talk through what you do, and what you’re trying to achieve, with a copywriting professional – their job is to convert your passion for your business into words that engage your target audience, both directly and through the search engines.
No such thing as too much love
Creating a website can be a really stressful part of setting up a business, so once you’ve done it, it would be fair to ask why on earth you would really want to go there again! But if your website has inadvertently slid down to the bottom of the toy box, while you have much more fun with social media and similar play-things, maybe it’s time to get nostalgic and polish it off a little, because from where I’m standing, when it comes to your website, there can be no such thing as ‘too much love’.