Staying On Top of your Website for a Successful Web Site.

You need a successful web site to thrive today.

Staying on top of your website is crucial to maintaining your on-line presence today. Business websites can be both complex and simple. Managing one, is both easy and hard, depending on what you are doing with it.

There are a number of excellent website management methods. You can use a content management system such as WordPress, Drupal or similar programs that allow you to do it yourself. You can hire a dedicated webmaster to manage and maintain your site. You can do both. But regardless of which method you use, you must keep your website current.

Sure a simple, flier site requires little regular upkeep. You can pop in every couple of months, make sure everything is up to date, and forget about it until next time. But treating your website like it’s merely a big phone book ad, ignores the great potential and benefits it can provide your business. The ability to change it on the fly, to update it at will, offers you a great deal more potential and greater rewards than a “update once a year” solution like the phone book.

How many times do you come across a site that is listing things from years ago as happening in the future? Does that give you confidence that they are on the ball in other areas of their business? Schedule time each month, or week, to look at your own site. If you list contact information, is it current? Hours of Operation? Are they accurate? Do you list specials or events or other time-sensitive information? Be sure to update that as well. You shouldn’t have your 4th of July sales special still listed on your site at Thanksgiving. Especially if it’s from 2 years ago.

It is crucial that your site be current, and accurately represent your business as it is today.  You can do this yourself, but your time is better served growing your business, not doing routine web upkeep. To do this, you need a reliable web master to help keep you running at peak performance. All the plans, organization or ideas are useless if they never get to your website. Web masters aren’t created equally. There are good and there are bad ones. A good webmaster will help you operate a successful web site. A bad one will sink you.

If you can never get in touch with them, if updates are always days or weeks late, never done, or regularly done wrong, you need to find a new web master.

A good web master will keep you posted on your sites update status, inform you of when updates are performed, notify you of any delays, as well as offer suggestions to improve the site and it’s performance.

To ensure you are getting the best, you have to check your site. If you send in your updates on Monday, and the following Monday you have heard nothing and nothing has been done to the site, you may want to pick up the phone and call them. Reviewing the timeliness and quality of your web master is vital. Provide them feedback so that they can help you better. Be clear in indicating when you need work done, if anything is a rush job, if certain things should be emphasized or changed. Clarity of communications is vital in having a successful working relationship with your web expert.

When I talk to my clients about keeping their websites updated, I often suggest they keep a running “to do” list on their computer, and add things to it as they think of them. This is sent to me monthly for me to schedule and perform. Other times, I recommend they simply email me their changes, and I’ll queue them up for once a week or once a month to maximize my efficiency and minimize their costs.  Most of my clients also have access to their sites so that they can make mission critical changes as needed.

You need to take time to look at your competitions web sites. After all, you check out their locations, their offerings, their phone book ads and other advertising. Be sure to look at what they are doing on the Internet as well. Take careful note of when they were last updated, what features they have, and how easy or hard it is to navigate through their site.

Regularly checking other sites an your own, working with your web master, and being clear on what you expect and when you expect it done is vital to success online today.

– Bob