A web site forms the basis or central hub of your digital presence. Pretty much everything revolves around your web site as it integrates into your social media strategy, push and pull communication with your customers (you push information out and pull customers in), provides a data collection point for customers to interact with you (contact us page, forms customers can use to sign up for pick up and delivery service, sign up for email newsletter, text message marketing), optimized for search engines and branded to your business with a dot com domain name.
I strongly recommend using a content management system to build your web site upon. Static page web sites are just so obsolete. If your web page is old school hard or hand coded html files, I have some serious bad news for you……adding new content or changing what you have is extremely expensive as you are basically going to have to pay an expensive developer to write code, by hand and upload it, making change after change to not only the new pages, but every page linked together. Do yourself a serious favor and update your web site and get on a content management system. The two major content management systems out there are WordPress and Joomla; either content management system is fine and will empower you (your web master, or whomever you delegate) to update content on a regular basis.
Updated content is vital as today’s search engine algorithm is designed to seek out, rank and present search results based upon relevance, authority and how recent your content is to search terms requested. If your web site is not updated with fresh new content on a regular basis, you likely won’t be picked up and scored by search engines. Optimizing your web site starts with content, adding meta tags, keywords based on that content (including pictures) and then submitting your web site to search engines on a regular basis is key. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is highly specialized work, so you should enlist the services of an expert. A good SEO expert can analyze your site, work with you to develop a strategy for which keywords or key phrases you want your web site to score highly for. Be realistic in your expectations and focus on just a few areas upon which your business specializes. While you may want to dominate local search for the key word ‘Drycleaning’, so does every other cleaner. It’s just not feasible that EVERY dry cleaner will be number one in their local market for the same keyword. If you insist on being number one in your market, a good SEO expert can recommend other strategies to get you found in other ways and not just SEO. When having your web site search engine optimized, plan on working and reworking your web site for at least six months, then slow down to a once a month or quarterly updates. Again, this is NOT a do it once off the shelf service, it takes time, a lot of work and a lot of strategy.
Speaking of content, all too often I hear someone say they are going to be blogging on their web site. The sad fact is, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you are not going to keep a content creation schedule and create new content, hire a professional content creator to do it for you. Nothing makes you look old and outdated than blog posts that are old and outdated, blog posts that were last made in 2014, or coupons on your web site that are stale dated for November 2016 (its 2018 by the way!)
Components, modules, widgets and plug ins! Depending on which content management system you decide to use, there are multiple systems available to you to extend the functionality of your web site. Some of these are free to download, install and use, others are paid for (licensed to use) bits of software you can add to your web site content management system to enable your web site to do more. Some of these functions might be a form system that enables you to create extensive forms to collect data from customers such as a sign up form for pickup and delivery services. There are other plug ins that may draw in and display reviews and testimonials from reputation web sites such as Yelp, Facebook and Google reviews. You would be amazed at how complex and integrated you can make your web site and offer an amazing array of additional ways of communicating and serving your customers. One can even tie in their point-of-sale system through their web site so customers can update their information and preferences.
Web sites can also integrate social media channels. Adding or linking your social media accounts to your web sites is a great way of establishing high authority links and back links, but makes it easier for your customers to find your social media channels too.
One of the main features of your domain name and web site is the ability to set up branded email addresses. As an example, you might want to set up and email address such as: owner@XYZcleaners.com . Every email you send reinforces your brand and brand name. It certainly looks more professional than XYZcleaners@yahoo.com . You spend good money every year on your dot com domain name registration and web hosting, it only makes sense that every email you send out build your brand name’s top of mind awareness via repetition.
Web sites MUST be responsive these days, responsive meaning being viewable on a smart phone or tablet. With over 80 percent of web traffic occurring on mobile devices and tablets, if your web site can only be properly viewed only on a desktop or laptop, well, you are pooched. There are literally hundreds of free, RESPONSIVE templates and themes available for the popular content management systems that make your web site very attractive and viable, on any device. If you are fortunate that your web site IS built on a content management system, all you need to do is switch to a responsive template or theme and do some minor tweaking and your entire web site is ready for all devices and a flood of mobile traffic.
I hope you can see how valuable of a hub your web site is to your business. It’s no longer a business card taped to the inside of the screen of your customer’s laptop, a web site is now an integral part of working with customers, generating leads, closing sales and enabling more people to find and conduct more business with you.