Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
The website that you invested thousands into might just be worthless. A lot of guides and online articles tell you that an online website is important for your digital presence, but what use is your website if you aren’t getting traffic? You could have just made a web page that lists your contact information with a picture and then left it at that. There’s no reason to have a website if people don’t see it, so how can you get noticed?
An example of a digital presence: A man works in New York as a third-party Apple product repairman. He advertises through local directories and he gets most of his customers from word of mouth. He decides to make a website because he reads an article in a business magazine that explains he needs an online presence. Using his limited web design knowledge, he plans a simple website that shows his contact information and the services he offers. After a month, he notices that, along with his social media accounts, he’s getting a lot more exposure. Thrilled by the success of his website, he decides to upgrade it and spend a thousand dollars on updating it with the help of a professional designer. In addition to his contact information and some pictures, it now has an online query box, lots more pictures, a modern design, and the information on the page has been completely written. Sadly, after a month, he doesn’t notice any growth and concludes that the money he spent on upgrading his website has gone to waste.
It seems almost impossible that a website being upgraded wouldn’t help your business, but it’s a possible case.
- People don’t like change: This is something that many people don’t quite understand. Business owners in particular love to change things such as how they are contacted, their websites or even the emails they use. This is a horrible practice because people just instinctively hate change. No one wants to change their bookmarks or look for your contact details in other places or click on different areas of your website to find your services. Overhauling your website is a huge gamble and becomes annoying when people that actively use your website have to re-learn where everything is.
- Content is important: The content of a website are more important than the design. A flashy looking website might be nice to look at, but at the end of the day if it doesn’t have the right information people need, then it’s not going to help anybody. You need to make sure that the information you put on your website is actually helpful to the customer or your clients. If you suddenly change your design and remove content, then people are going to scoff at the idea of you changing your website and might even stop using your services because you’re changing something that doesn’t need to be changed.
- Compatibility is key: Making sure your website runs on every device is incredibly important. Some phone carriers don’t give people large amounts of data to play with, which means they prefer to load websites with fewer images and fewer plugins. A simple and clean website is going to give you more information and be more helpful than something that is over-designed with flashy transitions and other effects. Keep it simple and make sure that you are designing with phones and tablets in mind as well because a large percentage of internet users utilize a mix of portable devices to view websites and access social media.
- Google hates change: When you change your website, Google has to check it all over again and rank it again depending on your content, images and everything. It has to resort your web ranking which could mean that it will temporarily drop a few places, giving your competitors a chance to rise above you. This bad because these temporary changes in your Google ranking might end up being permanent because your competitors will receive more recognition and they will be clicked on more often. To remedy this, make sure that you only introduce small changes at a time if you have to, or better yet, have your design planned from the beginning and stick with it.
- Money helps: You are never going to out-market a company that has more money than you to spend on advertising. Whether you’re trying to advertise with Google, banner ads or even use social media, you need money. It’s the sad truth with creating an online presence. You may have heard of services or websites that go viral and suddenly get a large influx of customers, but those effects are either temporary or very reliant on luck. Think about how many businesses out there fail to go viral and you’ll realize that it’s not a common thing for a company to explode in popularity—those are edge cases and they don’t happen often at all.