We are a month into the New Year which is about the time the local gyms stop being quite as packed with resolution makers. By this time next month, the elliptical machines and treadmills will once again be available to the ‘regulars’ who frequent the gym regularly. We all know we should be exercising regularly, but the failure rate of resolutions is proof that trying to force ourselves into a healthier activity level seldom works. Experts will tell you that we are better off finding activities we love to do rather than hitting the gym and doing what we think we need to do in order to get exercise. The same way that we need to add activity to our lifestyle in order to be healthier, it holds true for your business website as well.
If you’ve got a website for your business (I know, it sounds crazy but some businesses still don’t) you might be feeling you’ve got the whole ‘website requirement’ thing done. Once upon a time when the world wide web was young, it was enough just to have somewhere on the web dedicated to your business. The web isn’t young anymore and the way it’s used has changed. A lot.
You’ll find lots of information about why you should update your design, even I’ve written about it a few times. What you may not have heard much about is making your website active. The thing about your website is this, it could be your biggest asset in gaining clients, customers and followers. So why do so many small business owners shrug off the importance of their website and instead view it as a simple billboard on the information superhighway?
In order to get your website noticed it needs to draw people in and get their attention. Even the most attention getting billboard in the world gets stale after a few months doesn’t it? If nothing on your website ever changes, why would anyone want to return to it? Would you if it wasn’t your own? In order to get the kind of response to your website that some people get you have to give people a reason to come back. And no, they won’t necessarily come back when they need what you offer. Do you know why? Because they will have forgotten you and your website by then.
If some part of your website, a part that is of interest to your target market, is consistently offering something fresh and new, you give them a reason to come back again and again. Not only that, but you are also building a relationship with them, and it’s proven that when deciding on purchases or services people go with what they know and trust. It’s why Amazon gets away with higher prices on some things than smaller e-commerce shops. People know Amazon. People keep going back to Amazon. In the end, people purchase from Amazon even if a smaller online retailer might offer it for less. I’ve done it and I’m willing to bet you’ve done it too.
Sure, it’s easy for Amazon to keep their website active, they add new products daily. Don’t be discouraged though, you don’t have to be an online retailer to keep your website active. If you’ve read this blog long at all you know I’m going to mention blogging. Adding new articles of interest to your market is an ideal way of keeping things active and bringing people back. It’s my favorite and it’s something I recommend to my clients and students. In the same way going to the gym isn’t the only way to get exercise, blogging is not the only way to integrate activity on your website.
Something as simple as a snapshot of the day taken in your town or city can gain lots of local attention. A weekly recap of news in your business sector can also make your website a favorite stop for people looking for that type of information and not wanting to read all the articles out there themselves. Sometimes even little things like a weird word definition a day or cute cat video of the week could be enough to keep you on the radar of potential clients and customers. Are there questions about your industry that could be answered? Instructions that could be given in installments? If you think about it, there are probably plenty of things that you could consistently add to your website to keep people coming back.
Keep in mind a few things when choosing your website ‘activity program’:
- What type of content or information is your target market interested in? While cat videos might be cute, it’s probably not going to do much to bring back potential financial investment clients. A no-kill shelter looking for donors however could possibly see a direct correlation between the videos and an increase in donations.
- Be consistent, even when it seems like it’s getting you no where. So many people want to see instant results, but in reality it takes time to gain people’s trust. That means even if you haven’t seen a direct client from your weekly industry news recaps in the six months you’ve been doing it, don’t get discouraged and stop. Even the so-called ‘overnight internet sensations’ will tell you that in most cases they put in lots of time before the overnight sensation label was applied to them.
- Don’t assume you’re getting results. People are funny creatures. They might have been to your website dozens of times but when they finally contact you they never once mention they were regular visitors to your website to check out what the weird word of the week was. I always tell my website clients that just because the client didn’t come to them directly from the contact form on the website, it doesn’t mean the website had nothing to do with the reason they came.
- Talk about it. Use your social media accounts to point people to your new activity on your website. Ask people you meet face to face if they were aware of your website and the daily/weekly offering you provide. Direct people to your website now that you have something of interest to them to direct them to.
If you’ve never seen your website as being anything more than an online brochure or billboard, it’s time to change the scenery. Get your website active and see just what a boost it can be to your business.