As a small business owner, I totally understand having to watch where every penny is spent. You may be thinking “Why do I need a website when everyone will see my Facebook page anyway?”. The potential to reach a larger audience without a lot of effort or expense is a big draw to Facebook. But unless you are cranking out great content at a consistent and rapid pace, buying ads, and tracking your stats, you will not continue to grow a following and chances are most people won’t even know you are there.
Let’s look at a few differences between Facebook and having your own website:
- While a Facebook page is free and only takes a couple of minutes to set up, it is not yours to do with as you please. Facebook constricts the design and you can only brand your business to a certain extent. You are subject to their rules and regulations, and lately maybe even censorship. (Depending on who/what you believe.)
- With a WordPress website, you own it. Choose a layout that is right for you, brand your business as you wish, and say whatever you want.
Protecting Your Online Presence
- With Facebook you have no control over the conversation. Everyone has a voice and can share your posts with everyone else. Which normally is a good thing, but it can be a problem when unfair or inaccurate statements appear with a post from your page. Facebook encourages reviews, but anyone can review your business, even if you have never met them or provided them a service.
- Your website should be the center of your online presence. Social media platforms are the roads that lead to your main place of business, your website. A website gives you more credibility as a business and allows you to control the conversation. You can set up the options to accept reviews and comments or deny them.
Understanding Your Audience
- Facebook breaks down active user behavior, daily active users, new likes, unlikes, and external referrers, demographics, page, and tab views. Your page visitors are limited to the people on Facebook. The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old, however users 65 and older are the fastest-growing group. Is that your target audience?
- Google Analytics (GA) goes a lot further in detailed reporting and your website is not limited to who is on Facebook. GA show age, gender, interests, device, browser type, and location of your audience, and other stats. It will help you understand why visitors are clicking away from your site so you can make changes as needed. You can set goals within Google Analytics and track activity to see if you meet your goals. This is all free with no need to buy ads.
More people are moving away from Facebook due to the political climate of our country, along with several other reasons. Whose to say that someday Facebook will not go the way of MySpace? MySpace went from the most visited website in the world in 2006 to losing 10 million unique users in just one month in 2011. (Source: searchenginejournal.com) There are other social media platforms that have disappeared, just recently Vine. You can read the Top 10 List of failed platforms here.
Take a few minutes and read this blog post by Hootsuite, “How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2020 and How to Make it Work for You”. It will help you understand how to make Facebook work better for you.
In closing I want to share this quote with you:
When people say, “I don’t need a website because I have a Facebook page.” I say “You don’t have a Facebook page. Facebook has a page with your name on it. Own your own destiny and don’t be controlled by a fickle social site.” Rebecca Gill, WordPress SEO Consultant & Expert
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
During these unique Covid-19 times, more and more people are shopping online. I know I am, I avoid going out in public. Honestly though, I was doing that before the virus because I prefer spending my free time doing something I like, and shopping is not one of them.
I spend a lot of time online, whether it is shopping or working and I see many websites that need to be redesigned or just a little updating. However some need a complete overhaul.
How do you know your website needs to be redesigned? A few key elements to look for include:
- Visually Appealing – A website that looks neat and modern can say a lot about your business. It needs to be easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices.
- Content – The visual appeal of your website draws people in, but it is the content that keeps them there. The copy needs to be simple and effective, written with your target audience in mind. You only have about 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention, so you need to make it count. Utilizing bullet points is an effective way to convey valuable information quickly.
- Technical updates – Your website needs to be updating each time the developer of your theme or plugin makes an update to the software. This applies to WordPress website where each plugin can have a different developer. Each time WordPress makes an update, the developer needs to update their plugins. If these updates are not made, eventually WordPress and your plugins will lose compatibility causing issues on the site or even causing it to crash completely.
- Security – If your website is not using HTTPS protocol then it is not secure, and Google will penalize your search ranking. This means any information that is transmitted from you to your customer, or your customer to you, is vulnerable to being hacked. You should never take payments via your website if you are not using HTTPS. Most search engines will put up a warning before your site can load stating that it is not secure, which will cause potential customers to click away fast!
- Opt in form – You should have a way to collect email addresses of those visiting your site who might want to receive further information on your products or services. People will more readily give you their email address if you offer them something of value in return, like a free download with tips.
- Usability – Be sure your site is not overwhelming with long copy. The idea is for customers to be able to look at your site and navigate to the information they are looking for quickly. If they have to read long paragraphs of text, they will leave your site to find a simpler one. User interface and ease of navigation are top priorities for any website.
- Load times – A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 (about the time smartphones hit the scene) to eight seconds today. A goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds! (Source digitalinformationworld.com) Google rewards sites that load faster by giving them better search rankings. You can test the load speed of your website by going to Google PageSpeed Insights and entering your web page URL. It will analyze your site and give you suggestions to speed it up.
- Web host – Using the lowest priced web host you can find is not always the best idea. It may save you a little money now, but it might cost you later when your website is down through no fault of your own, or your site is so slow customers click away before it fully loads. Web hosting should be based on your individual needs . I recommend using SiteGround. They keep their systems updated and their customer service is easy wonderful.
With so many people moving to online shopping, you need to be sure your website can handle the new attention it may be receiving from online shoppers. Making smaller changes now will save you money in the long run. Why not take advantage of the current online world we are living in and update your website to keep your visitors interested long enough to click that Add to Cart button?
Is your website in need of some TLC? Schedule a call with me today and we can talk about it.
I could go on and on about creating a website but for the sake of this post let me just hit the high notes. It’s time to get your website up and running so you start marketing. But what platform do you use? Let me say that almost any platform you decide on now will be responsive, meaning mobile friendly, and have drag and drop building options if needed. I still highly suggest using WordPress so let me share with you my reasons.
WordPress has almost limitless options for themes, plugins, and integrations. With other platforms you are limited to using only the services they have chosen for you such as shopping cart integration and automated marketing platforms. Squarespace for example only integrates with Mailchimp, not Constant Contact, GetResponse, Aweber, InfusionSoft, etc.
With the limitations placed on you by the different platforms, you may not get the functionality you want. You will look at other websites and say, “why can’t I do that?”. The main reason will be because that other website is built on WordPress with its many choices.
You do have to choose a hosting platform with WordPress which is different from the way other site builders work. However, this choice allows you to save money by comparison shopping, but remember, you get what you pay for. The least expensive option is not always the way to go. I highly recommend SiteGround for your service and choosing the WordPress Hosting. They have a wonderful track record for uptime, support, and reliability.
After choosing a platform and a hosting service, we can look at themes. No matter what platform you decide to use, there will be a theme that is perfect for you, even if it needs a little customization. Any platform will allow you to choose your own branding. Your logo, colors, your own “voice”. Your website is where you can express what you (or your business) is all about.
Do some research by looking at websites of your competitors. See what they are doing and make note of the things you like and dislike. People are no longer taking the time to read everything on your site. Visuals are extremely important. There are several websites that offer free images and please take advantage of those. However, I do suggest purchasing a few more prominent images that you will be using on your site. You don’t want the same images everyone else is using. You want to stand out.
When it comes to text, the easier it is to scan, the better it is. This means bolding words and phrasing that you want to stand out and using lists and bullet points so it’s easier for people to see the main points that you want to get across.
On your home page, you need an eye-catching image, and an optin for with a lead magnet (freebie), your social media icons which should be near the bottom (so people don’t immediately click away from your site), and you want to be sure your contact information is easy to find. Yes, you will have a contact page but ideally your email and phone number should be on every page.
Your home page should be very clear on the product or service you offer. People will not dig around on your site to figure it out, they will immediately click away and go somewhere else if they can’t find the information they want fast enough. Your website should have a clean and uncluttered look.
While WordPress and its many choices may seem intimating at first, you will be glad you chose it in the long run. Especially if after a couple of years, your business is growing and you need to make changes and step up your game. With WordPress, you won’t need to switch platforms to accommodate your new needs. If you feel like hiring someone to build your first WordPress website is what you should do, then do it. Other platforms may seem easier and less expensive at first, but their limitations will cost you more in the long run because they do not grow with you as a business.
We have really just touched on the basics in this post. Schedule a consultation to discuss building a website in more depth at a time that is convenient for you.
Watch for next week’s blog when we talk about setting up your social media platforms!
Do you really have time to deal with website maintenance and updates? Do the changes you make to your site never look just right? Let someone you can trust do the updates and changes for you. All our team members have years of WordPress experience and can handle any updates or site changes you need.
If you saw last week’s blog, then you already know about our great new service. Well, it’s finally live! Remember we talked about the importance of keeping your website updated? It keeps things running smoothly and helps protect your site against cyber-attacks. Did you know if you do an update, even a required one, there could be a conflict between WordPress and your theme, or your theme and a plugin, that might cause your website not to function like it should? Remembering to confirm a current backup is in place is just one of the things we will do before starting updates. We also know how troubleshoot the plugins to find the conflict if needed. These are the type of services you will receive when you sign up for our maintenance package.
The monthly Website Maintenance Package includes:
- All WordPress required updates
- All theme required updates
- Content changes (2 per month)
- Additional page (1 per month)
- Confirm backups are completed
No more worries about the little red dots with numbers in them that appear on the dashboard of your website. No more worrying about how to add content and new pages to your site. Contact us and let us handle these things for you! Keep your website up to date and looking professional with a little help from us.
For more details about this new service, please visit the Website Maintenance page!
In the ongoing effort to meet the differing needs of our clients, we have developed a new Website Maintenance Package that will be available effective August 1st. We are currently testing to have a streamlined sign up process ready for you!
Our Website Maintenance Package is for clients who have a website built on the WordPress platform, which by the way, we highly recommend. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and is used by nearly 75 million websites. According to WordPress, more than 409 million people view more than 23.6 billion pages each month. With that many people and businesses using WordPress, it’s hard to argue that it is one of the best website platforms. Read more interesting statistics about WordPress from codeinwp.com.
WordPress has premium themes and plugins and free themes and plugins. Premium options will be feature-rich, responsive, and well supported by the developer. These themes and plugins are also updated each time WordPress creates an update so they continue to work seamlessly together while ensuring the most robust and secure platform available.
Free themes are usually created by independent developers, with limited or no support – although high-end vendors will sometimes provide free “lite” versions of themes and plugins, as a tempter for their premium options. However, due to their lack of cost, the quality and customization options can vary greatly and you cannot rely on them to be updated as needed like the premium options.
For instance, if WordPress updates their platform and the theme or plugin developer does not, this could cause your site to have issues or even crash completely. Having said that, if you don’t do the required WordPress update, your site can also have issues. If you do not do the required updates suggested by WordPress or the theme and plugin developers, your will site could become outdated and not integrate well with other programs or newer plugins.
Watch for a blog post coming in August that will take a closer look into the details of the differences between the premium and free options.
Sounds like a catch 22, doesn’t it? If you don’t update you could have problems, but if you do update, you could still have problems. Confused yet?
That’s where our new Website Maintenance Package comes in. Let us do the worrying for you. We will ensure your site is backed up and updated to the latest versions monthly. Not only that, but we will make up to three website changes for you during a month, and even add one new page per month. Launching a new product or just updating content? We can make those changes for you. It’s all included in your monthly package where you will be able to lock-in a low cost option for website maintenance!
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, REGISTER NOW and you will receive the details and a coupon code delivered right to your inbox on August 1st!