27 Nov Making my Website Work for Me
It’s 100% okay to not fully understand how websites, search engines, web design, web development, social media, or even the internet, work when you hire a web developer or designer. But if you aren’t willing to hear the answer, it is best not to ask the question.
“Why isn’t my website #1 on Google or even on the front page?”
“Do I have to use social media?”
“Should I blog?”
“Can’t you just handle everything?”
I can answer every single one of these questions, and you might not love or even like the answers, but I can promise you they are the hand-to-god truth from my perspective as a web designer.
To answer the first question: Your website is likely to not be the first or most original of its kind, maybe ever. Don’t worry, though, because that won’t sink you — not remotely. I know that you are brilliant, and I will do my best to highlight the ways in which you are unique and brilliant when I work with you. Your site will be even more original and rank better on Google when you choose to make it more original with rotating content; keywords; new information, unique branding, etcetera.
Expecting your website to appear first on Google is a complicated issue, however. It depends on your search criteria, and this is always the main thing to remember. How do you want to be found, or how do you think people will search for services/products like yours? Gear your content towards those things and you will likely be more successful.
Also, please mention your hopes and expectations for search results at the beginning of your interactions with a web designer/developer, not at the end of the transaction, when the site has already been published and is active. If you mention them as an after-effect please expect to pay additional hourly wages for the person who is performing these services for you.
To answer number two: No. You don’t have to use social media, and nobody can make you. It will help, though. Like, a lot. Engaging with customers and potential customers will increase your chances of being recognized, remembered, and utilized as a product/service. It also offers you a platform for whatever your message might be, and new and good ideas need platforms.
To answer number three: Blogging can be imperative to keeping content new and fresh and relevant, and it is a great way to connect with people who visit your website. If you want positive SEO results, it’s a good idea to blog. But, don’t force it. If you don’t have anything new to say, it’s best to simply not say anything at all.
Number four: Yes. I can handle everything! However, updates and maintenance on your website are not free, because time isn’t free — not yours, not mine, not anyone else’s.
My basic advice for making your website work long-term includes the following:
- Add something new and original to your website at least once a month… more, if you are able! A blog; a video or some other media; even a small update to the layout. Everything helps! Check out this article for more information: https://seositecheckup.com/articles/5-reasons-why-fresh-content-is-critical-for-your-website-and-seo
- Utilize social media platforms. I like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. I do not currently utilize Facebook for my web design business, but it can be a great way to keep in touch with people, and it is a very popular medium.
- Find new and pertinent information in your field and throw in your own two cents with a blog post.
- Remember these three words: Consistency, Transparency, and Family.
- Stick with your branding strategy; blog about a handful of topics and make sure your strategy is clear.
- Let people in… just a little. You don’t have to tell anyone what you did at 4PM last Tuesday (if you even remember), but do let them know when you aren’t available, and let them know a little bit about your personal history. For example, where you went to college and what sport you played, or what instrument you used to practice as a teenager. Be personable and honest, because it humanizes you.
- Tell everyone you meet that you have a website and where they can find it! There’s no reason not to. People may not hire you right away, but they’ll be more likely to remember you if you “friend” them or keep in touch with them in some capacity.
- It’s good to look at and know at least a bit about your competition. You can learn what to do and what NOT to do directly from them.
Here’s a bonus piece for all the small businesses out there:
The sooner you can launch your website prior to the opening of your business, the better; the longer a site is in the web-sphere, the more likely it will be that people will be able to find you via search engines, therefore maximizing the website’s effectiveness. Waiting until your business is ready to open is really not the time to be thinking about a logo or a website or a branding strategy or website changes/updates for the first time, and putting pressure on designers or strategists so late in the game is unfair and unrealistic if you are expecting good, long-term results.
Be patient; know your audience; tell literally everyone you meet about your business; keep in touch. This is what I have to offer, in terms of advice. Your website is a hub for goodness, and everyone is invited. Make sure people know about it, and you’ll be just fine.
Image by FreePik