So you’re looking for a Bradenton web designer. But what’s your plan beyond that?
Do you really want to invest your southwest Florida small business’s marketing dollars and/or valuable company time creating a website and just leaving it there? That’s the equivalent of “investing” in a back-country roadside billboard and leaving it out there to fade in the sun.
And every once in a while, someone who’s lost in Parrish or Terra Ceia will see your faded website, and you just hope they’re in the market for what your business is selling?
What is your small-business plan for your website? And how do you know your website is doing its job?
“Wait a minute,” you might say to yourself. “I thought a website’s job was just to exist.” And, I mean, that’s a great first step—you need your website to be live and functioning.
But the role of a Bradenton business website can—and should—be so much more. It’s a key component of your digital marketing plan, and it needs to keep acting like it.
What is a Business Website Supposed to Do?
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of some of the things your website needs to do (beyond just sitting there like a lump on a log):
- Provide information on your company
- Attract [the right] eyeballs
- Keep those eyeballs engaged and clicking through
- Establish an ongoing relationship with your customers and your community
- Attract new prospective customers
- Provide a direct line of communication between you and your customers
So. Is your website set up to do all of that? And will it keep doing it six months or five years down the line?
Not sure? Well, here’s what needs to be taken care of to make that happen.
Initial Design and Content
Yep, when you say you want a company website, this is probably the part you’re mostly thinking of. This is the making of the billboard. And this web design is super important! And also, it’s something I love to do.
Designing an effective, appealing website means making something that looks nice, runs smoothly, is easy to navigate, and is just overall a great experience for your visitors. (Read more about what goes into a positive website user experience.)
Plus, you want to “position” your website properly on the digital highway. That means setting it up so it’s attractive not just to visitors but to search engines: The initial design needs to run smoothly and contain loads of SEO qualities on the front end and the back end. That’s how you put an attractive website on a digital “busy road.”
All of that, in and of itself, is a whole job. In fact, it’s why there are lots of web designers out there who just do this kind of one-and-done work. Great for now; not great for long.
The problem with one-and-done is soon you’re left high-and-dry.
So how do you keep your website billboard from fading in the sun? And how do you know there’ll still be lots of traffic to provide eyeballs for your site?
New, original, ongoing content is one of the best ways to keep your website relevant both to visitors and to search engines. Blogs are such a simple, affordable and effective way of showing everyone your website matters. (So long as they’re written by a real-live human copywriter, thank you very much.)
So either your web designer can set this up for you to update on a regular basis (congratulations! You’ve got another responsibility!), or you can hire a content management company to work with you to keep you in fresh content.
Maintenance, Updates, Upgrades and Fixes
Even with fresh content, your website will need other active fixes. You’ll get a new phone number or even a new logo; employees will come and go; things will change within your industry that you want noted on your website.
Due to the ever-changing nature of online technology and software, your website’s infrastructure will need to be repaired (and, from time to time, even replaced). Plug-ins will stop working, photos and videos will bog down, some pages may even stop loading or give the dreaded 404 error message.
And if your one-and-done web designer is long gone, what are you going to do about these things?
So what if you want some information as to whether your website is really doing what it’s supposed to do?
Analytics can show you things like number of visitors, bounce rate (whether they leave as soon as they get to your site, not finding what they’re looking for), where your visitors come from (both IRL and digital referrals) and what kinds of things they engage with while they’re there.
And while this information may seem straightforward, you can’t always guess at what these numbers mean. A website manager can help explain to you what’s really going on with your analytics. And then they can help you make it better.
If this sounds like a lot, it definitely is! Making sure websites do their jobs certainly keeps my business busy.
And that’s the point: Bradenton’s Deckard and Company can do web design as well as ongoing web management for you. Don’t let your website fade along the side of the road. Keep it up and looking great where everyone can see it.