No matter how often you change your site, the New Year is always a good time to get some housekeeping done, making it ready for the next 12 months of presenting your business image online.
There are a few basic things you should do if you want to keep visitors and generate business leads from the Internet.
1. Keep your site information current - With so many businesses, especially those with an off-site web designer, keeping the Web Site current becomes almost an inconvenience. This happens for three main reasons:
high charges for making changes
procrastination sending changes to the designer
a busy designer, and changes take a long time
Out of date copyrights, email addresses and contact information can not only deter visitors, but also prevent leads from even reaching you.
2. Check Web Site Compatibility - New browsing technology is emerging all the time. 2007 alone has seen the release of many new SmartPhones, including the IPhone, Microsoft's Vista Operating System, and the rise of the Mac in businesses and the home. If you want to reach these new technologies, you need to make sure that any visitors you may get can see your site as it was intended. Get friends to check your site on their phones and other browsers to see if anything is missing.
3. Check Loading Speeds - Although we're pretty technological in Hampton Roads, a lot of the U.S., and the world still connect via dial-up. Have friends, especially on dial-up, load your site on their machines. It makes no difference if they do this at home or at work, but if loading exceeds 30 seconds at dial-up speeds, you will be losing business. Get your designer to optimize any images or especially Flash animations on your site to make it faster.
4. Resubmit your Site to the Search Engines - Once changes have been made, get your designer to resubmit your site to the Searches, to let them know your site has been updated. Make sure, however, that your designer has not used any Search Engine 'tricks', such as hidden text or pages, in the hope that this will help your rankings. Such actions are more likely to get your site banned by the searches.
5. Stay Up with New Web Technologies - If your site is older and you must pay the designer to update the site for you, the chances are it is a 'static' site. There are many newer technologies out there, which allow you to make changes yourself for free, and offer many other benefits.
Of course, a designer you are paying may not want you to know about such things, but with more people searching for products and services online, it doesn't hurt to call around and find out what can be done to increase your visibility. There is a good chance some of your competitors already have such sites, which give them many online advantages.
In totally shameless self-promotion, one such technology is our own WebUpdate system. A WebUpdate site takes care of all of the above list, without any ongoing 'maintenance' costs. Furthermore, a WebUpdate site contains such advanced features as automatic Search Engine submission, and also spam filtering and email control, and can serve you for years.
If you're ready to take a new step in 2008, visit us at http://www.internetmark.com to read about our clients, and see first hand the remarkable results we bring to their businesses.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.
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