It’s exciting to launch a new website, whether it’s the first website for your company or practice, or an update for a website you’ve had for a while. But you can’t really just check “website” off your list and ignore it. “Set it and forget it” does not lead to success in digital marketing.
Get a good start with strategy
One of the tough things about websites, from the point of view of the site owner, is that there is a wide range in websites. You can use a Wix or Squarespace template and copy and paste the text from your brochure. We’ve met people who feel proud of websites they’ve made in this way, and we’re happy for them. This is a small investment and it will bring a small return: a website that looks pretty good when you send someone to look at it.
If you want significant sales, leads, or authority from your website, this kind of site is not what you need.
Install Google Analytics, and find out how many visits your website is receiving. See how people find you and what geographic area they come from. Do the demographics of your visitors match your customer base? If you serve women 25-54 in your local area but your visitors are teenage boys from Russia, your website isn’t doing its job.
Based on the data you see, develop a goal for your website. You might plan to work toward a 10% increase in traffic in one month or a shift in demographics in three months. Write down that goal and get to work.
Do you need to fix your content so it communicates better with search engines, or with your human visitors, or both? This is often the most important step.
If your website is still new, you should use real world and social promotion to let your clients know it exists.
Once your site is established, regular fresh content is the most effective tactic. Whether you choose to call this blogging or to use some other term, nothing else will give you the same SEO results.
Social media that links back to your website, or paid search ads that link to your sales pages can also give you some traction. These are the tactics that Google recommends for websites that can’t rank organically for the keywords they want.
Suppose that you decide not to put any additional resources into your website in the form of blogging or even social media or ads. You understand that “set it and forget it” isn’t likely to lead to success, but you don’t want to make a further investment.
What’s the least you can do?
First, since you have installed Google Analytics, check those analytics, or have an automatic report sent to you on a regular basis. Just keeping an eye on your analytics allows you to make sure your website is receiving enough targeted traffic to satisfy you. You’ll see if things are improving or if they’re getting worse. If you do nothing more than this, you will probably see little change.
Second, make sure you keep your website up to date. Use WordPress as a platform, and this can just be a matter of updating your theme or plugins. It’s easy to update your team page or to change your phone number. You can even upload new photos when appropriate.
In our experience, websites that don’t get updated are more likely to be hacked or broken than sites that get a little TLC on a regular basis. Frankly, we never see these problems in sites where we’re the webmasters and we see them fairly often at neglected websites.
Or should we say set it and forget it websites?