Category Archives: Website Best Practices

Making Website Maintenance Collaborative

Digital Maids Website Maintenance

Making Website Maintenance Collaborative

Website maintenance should be a collaborative effort.   Employees add value to a company website, and a strong digital presence often translates into a healthy business.  However, corralling content from various stakeholders is challenging.  Particularly when there is little or no process in place.  This is where a good file sharing app such as Google Docs or Evernote can help you meet your website updating goals.

Take advantage of the ease and convenience of file sharing apps to involve key content holders in the website updating process.  This does not mean you need to hire additional people to do the actual updating of your website.  File sharing apps are a tool for the content providers and web professional to communicate.  These apps offer a convenient, streamlined approach to organizing and prioritizing content updates.

Multi-Content Providers

Even small businesses have multi-content providers. The perspective of a specific job role or position within a business brings with it a unique set of content and knowledge- and some of that content is valuable to the website.  A sales team member will most likely have first-hand knowledge of pricing or product descriptions, while an HR  person can be a huge asset in fleshing out staff bios and images. 

Capturing all of these varying perspectives and nuggets of company information with a seamless, trackable process can dramatically improve the quality and freshness of your website.  

Case Study – Google Docs

I have worked on and off for two years with a nonprofit that has a staff of approximately twelve people.  Identifying which employee had the correct, updated content needed for the website was an ongoing issue.  Some staff worked remotely, some worked multiple roles.  Individual requests for content became an endless, an ultimately fruitless cycle.  

Under new leadership, ensuring an updated website was high on the priority list.  After a few long email threads, Google Docs was suggested as a solution to manage and track website updates.   After carefully creating a document that was easy to access, understand, and update, we started to see progress.

A shareable, breathable list of what the website needed, was in fact, exactly what the website needed!  We were able to quickly document website pages, paragraphs, or even single sentences that required attention.  With a clearly designated “Status” column in Google Docs, all involved in the process could see what needed to be done, who was responsible, and what had already been accomplished.

Greater visibility and providing a convenient way to communicate updates significantly reduced the time getting the content, confirming it was the right content, and having it posted. There was great satisfaction in seeing results!

Tips

To use file sharing effectively, put some thought into organizing what is essentially a shared to-do list for your website.   Always include:

  • An URL field
    Everyone has to be looking at the same content!
  • A Priority field
    Some website content is nice-to-have, some is time sensitive and must-to-have. Communicate time sensitivity and your web person will know what to do first.
  • Archive
    Avoid a long cluttered list of action items by archiving completed updates

Updating Your Website for the New Year

New Year New Website Digital Maids

Updating Your Website for the New Year

Yes, it is already February.  Have you found time to update your website and social media business pages for the new year?  If you have not done so already, take twenty minutes to perform the following updates listed below.   Making these small changes lets inbound visitors to your website know you are open for business.

Website

Update the copyright year

Typically located in the footer, this is a quick way to show the world on EVERY page of your website that you are an active business.  Although some website themes may update copyright information automatically, it is important to confirm. Related to the copyright…

Header and footer 

Perform a quick review of all links and content in the header and footer.  Header and footer content is critical because it is highly visible and often links to your social media networks and other pertinent contact information.  Be sure all links are working correctly and contact information is accurate.  

Contact form

Update your contact form to incorporate the new year.  “How can help we reach your goals in 2018?”, for example, or “we look forward to working with you in 2018!”.  If you have a particular time of year that is busy, relay this information to potential customers, and articulate how best they can arrange time to meet with you. 

Holiday Content

You know that house that still has a Christmas or holiday themed wreath hanging on their front door? Don’t be that house in the digital world.  Remove or update any holiday-related content or promotions, particularly on your homepage.  Consider replacing it with a show of appreciation – “thank you to all our customers for making 2017 amazing.” If you don’t have time to draft fresh copy, repurpose existing content.  Your company history, for example, or a short summary your of your most popular products and services. 

Social Media Networks

If you do not have time to post new content to your social media channels, take a quick scan of the most prominent areas on your social pages and give them updates.  This includes:

  • Update any pinned posts and call to action buttons
  • Update any profile or cover photos that have a holiday theme
  • Review of your automated replies
  • Review of your website links, particularly for Instagram bios.  Instagram only gives you one link, make the most of it!

Even if it’s not perfect, completing the above tasks sends the right signal to your customers and prospects.  That you are present and open for business!

 

5 Quick Ways to Give Your Site a Weblift

Originally posted in October 2014, updated January 2017

Digital Maids 5 Website Content Update TipsIf the idea of adding “update the company website” to your to-do list seems daunting and time consuming, it’s probably the reason why you keep putting if off for another day.  However, each day that you delay puts into a motion a vicious cycle. You continue to not give the attention your website needs to be a positive online experience for your visitors and stay SEO friendly, while the content updates continue to pile up, requiring even more time.

When the first impression of a website is one of stale content, no one will spend a lot of time on your website.

Break the cycle of content neglect by taking a few minutes to perform the following 5 updates. None of these updates require an extended amount of time to perform and will create a fresh updated look for your site that both visitors and search engines will value.

Continue reading

With so much social media, can I ditch my website?

If you arewebsite vs social media a small business owner managing multiple social media channels – a Facebook page, or Instagram and Twitter presence, for example, in addition to your company website, you may wonder, does my company still really need a website?  Facebook in particular continues to improve the functionality and overall look and feel of their business pages, all in the hopes to keep you posting in their space.

Two criteria must be considered when making these kind of decisions for your small business.  Money and time.  Is it within the budget?  Is it worth my time?

Although it is tempting to turn off the website and take it off your to do list, especially within the context of these two questions, there is still value to be found in maintaining a company website.

 

CONGESTED NEWSFEEDS

If it seems crowded on the social media scene, it is not your imagination.  Facebook recently reported nearly 1.5 billion million active users.  Twitter, often aptly compared to an endless cocktail party of mixing and mingling,  has similar high numbers, 307 million users.

Given this extraordinary potential reach, having a consistent presence that is an extension of your brand is an essential piece of any comprehensive content marketing strategy.   And if you are to B2C organization, an active social media page sends a strong signal to your customers that you are accessible and responsive to their needs.

However, the possibility to reach millions of potential customers comes with staggering competition.  Facebook alone has 50 million business pages.   This partially explains why Facebook is constantly tweaking its newsfeed algorithm, and that Twitter may soon follow suit.   It is an ongoing effort to not overwhelm and ultimately turn off its users with content deemed worthless.   For businesses hoping to gain exposure through their Facebook business page, the continual shake up of the newsfeeds means that even your followers will most likely not see all of your posts.

HAVING YOUR OWN ADDRESS

Most small businesses owners I have the pleasure to work with have a strong sense of purpose when it comes to managing their work and envisioning their product.   Most often, this drive and commitment is what brought them to take the risk to go out on their own.   It is also why it can be difficult to alter that vision in order to fit into the prescribed parameters of a social media platform.  Cover photos are impactful and will surely raise brand awareness, but maybe not all the images you want to showcase are ideal for a 851×315 layout.

With over 21 “important” social media channels constantly evolving and surely more on the way, there are vast opportunities to broaden your reach.  But your website, that domain you bought, is just that – your domain.  Reward your users from the moment they enter it with robust, informative content.  Take advantage of not having to conform to the constraints of another platform to really communicate to users your value and distinctiveness.

SEARCH

Although search within social media platforms are becoming smarter, your potential client is still most likely trying to find you through a search engine.   And when you comb through all the tips and infographics on how best to boost search engine results (SER), when does a consistently updated company website not make the list?

 

BEST SCENARIO

1) A regularly maintained Facebook or [insert your customers most you used social media channel(s)] that reflects your content marketing strategy and brand + 2) a consistent landing page + 3) an easy to register for mailing list will create some content continuity for search engines and people both on and off of social media.

What do you think?  Is it worth it to maintain both a website and social media presence?

Why I left your Website

If you are about to embark on creating a new website or redesign of your existing site, congratulations! As you are already aware, this is such a huge component of your overall business operations. It’s your online storefront, presenting an amazing opportunity to create not only a first impression, but more importantly, a powerful and positive lasting impression.

When you sit down to work with your web designer, it’s helpful to keep in mind the pitfalls that can create a poor impression on your website, ultimately frustrating your visitors. None of these fixes require a huge budget, fancy graphics, or intricate code. The only requirement is user mindfulness. Think like a user, and the content and navigational pieces will fall into place.

website usability tips