I was talking to Alexis Martin-Neely recently, an entrepreneur, mom and family lawyer that I absolutely adore, getting to know each other, talking about the online business I started with my husband and how we sold it for six-figures in less than a year because of PR - when she asked me a question that stumped me:
“Where is that story on your website?”
Umm, it’s there buried in my bio, typically called “About” on a navigation bar but I had decided to be creative and use SEO terms that had nothing to do with what most readers would expect landing on a new site.
“You should really make it easier to find, as it builds your credibility,” says Alexis.
Well, duh. Did I feel dumb.
Sometimes what is so obvious to an outsider can be a complete blindspot! I liked how my site looked, but as I started to look at it from a visitor’s point of view, I realized it wasn’t very intuitive – I don’t even have a proper blog for goodness sake’s (I have been resisting calling myself a blogger, but that’s another story) and the site was looking a little cluttered.
A website, like other marketing materials, needs to keep up with the times. Whether that means tweaking your website from time to time to keep it up to date or completely redoing it, it’s a decision that can only be made by you.
Here are some questions to help you decide if it’s time for a website makeover:
1. When was the last time you updated your website design or functionality?
If it’s been more than a year since you’ve done anything to your website other than add content, then it’s probably time to at least give your website a few touch-ups. For example, I’ve eliminated a sub navigation bar that was redundant, making the site seem less cluttered and confusing.
2. Does your website design still accurately reflect your company personality, brand, vision and mission?
Businesses change and grow and you can easily outgrow your website design. If it no longer represents who you are and where you’re going as a business, it’s time for a makeover. Although my site is only a year old, midway through 2009 I noticed that even though it was branded for “mompreneurs”, I was attracting quite a few men as clients and prospects. I didn’t want to lose them, so simply tweaking my logo and text to be friendly to both mompreneurs AND other business owners have improved my opt-in rate and conversions.
3. Is your website able to accomplish all that you need it to accomplish?
Old platforms may not be able to handle all of the functions and features you’d like to offer your audience.
My site is built on a WordPress platform which I absolutely love. I am able to switch “themes” fairly easily and while I leave the heavy programming to an expert, I love how I can make changes on the fly – no more waiting for someone else. I can easily add audio, video, and there are also a few must-have plugins I am adding to my site soon. I’m just installing a re-tweet button for example, to make it easier for others to share my posts on Twitter! Another “duh” moment.
4. Have you rebranded your business? If you’ve rebranded your business then your website most certainly needs an update.
In 2010 one of the things I am doing is stepping out in a bigger way as a personal coach. Although I am fairly well known as a PR and Marketing Consultant, not many people know I am a certified life and business coach.
I want to work with clients on their WHOLE life, to make sure the business they are building aligns with their personal vision. After all, the decisions you make in your business will impact your personal life, and the driving forces that motivate you as a person, will have huge impact on what drives your business to success or failure.
5. Is your website poised to handle the future?
If your website already has a retro look and feel, it may not be ready for what the future has in store.
So that you don’t get overwhelmed, make a list of priorities and take it in small steps. A touch-up here and there may prevent you from having to do a complete overhaul in the near future.
If you’re on my site now, bear with me as I make some changes that will make the experience better for you, my loyal subscribers!
I also have a free download called “5 Keys to a Website that Leapfrogs the Competition” if you’re just starting out with a new website. It’s about halfway down the sales page.
Did you get any ideas about your own website? I’d love to know!
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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