Attention: Your Website Needs You!
As I trudged through my middle school years during the late 90s, a fad broke out that ranked right up there with boy bands, bleached hair, and beanie babies. (OK, it was probably a ways behind behind beanie babies in terms of popularity. That one got way out of control.) It involved small electronic devices known by the names of the two most popular brands that sold them, Giga Pets and Tomagatchi. These devices turned the user into the owner of an electronic pet (e.g., a cat, dog, frog, or T-rex). Owners had to care for their pet by using buttons to give them food, play with them, discipline them, or let them sleep. The pets reacted accordingly by becoming happy and healthy or ill and despondent. If neglected for too long, these electronic pets would (electronically) die.
While I never had a Giga Pet or Tomagatchi myself, I watched many of my friends and relatives learn quickly that they needed to constantly check on and care for their little pets. (Like many of us have learned the hard way with real goldfish, hamsters, and puppies.)
Fast forward to 2015. The Giga Pet/Tomagatchi owners of the 90s have become the small business owners and marketing managers of today. Unfortunately, many of them have forgotten the lesson they learned all those years ago as it pertains to their websites. Instead of thinking of their site as something that needs to be checked on regularly, they think of it as framed painting. A lot of work is needed to complete a painting, but all changes and adjustments are finished once it is framed and hung on the wall.
While the work required to complete a new website is certainly important, it’s far from all that is required to have a website that leads to more business. Here are a few things that you should be mindful of as you regularly monitor and improve your website.
Think quick: When was the last time you read through the content on your website? If it’s been longer than a few months, you may want to read it to ensure it matches your current strategies, the time frame, and what your customers want to see. If you have a blog, this is a great opportunity to post seasonal deals, answer questions, and share success stories.
Few things will cause clients to leave your website faster than unappealing or mystifying design choices. In some cases, a complete redesign may be the best option. But it’s much more common that you will need to make smaller tweaks that make your website easier to use and understand.
You do not need to make decisions about website changes based off the opinion of a single person. But there are several helpful statistics that will show you how people are interacting with your website. These can be found through Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, or through our OnlineImage® dashboard.
Once you have your statistics in hand, you’ll need to do the groundwork to determine the causes of any problems. Talk to your customers or have people you trust look through your site and tell you any issues that they have with obtaining information or navigating your website. Items that are brought up frequently likely deserve action.
There are several ways to communicate with visitors on your website, which could include forms, blog comments, email links, or social media integration. Make sure you check all outlets often and respond to questions and other comments as quickly as possible.
Some of the above items above, like communicating with clients and checking your statistics, should be done very often. Others, like large content and design changes, should be given some time to breathe so you can adequately gauge their effectiveness. But it’s important to make sure that you are constantly mindful of all of them to make sure you are getting the most from your website. You don’t want to have another dead Tomagotchi on your hands.