OK, you've got your domain name, and you've sent it to all of your friends. That's great. That's something to brag about. Trust me, I've talked to hundreds of people about getting a website live for their business or organization. Just having something to show your family is the hardest part. You had to write some content, take some pictures, and figure out how people can contact you. You had to find a name and figure out how to point that domain name to your website. You might of even had to figure out how to get your website off of your computer and onto the Internet.
All of that? That's no small feat. So I mean it when I say, "Congratulations. You, my friend, are online."
So what's next? That's a great question.
Just because your website is live doesn't mean you've got nothing to do anymore. This is just the beginning.
The great thing about having a website for your business is that you can update it. It can adapt as you figure out what works and what doesn't.
Don't get me wrong -- you don't have to spend all of your waking hours worrying about your website. After all, you've got REAL work to do. But taking a little bit of time each month to review your site is a great way to keep up with things and make minor adjustments that could pay off big in the end.
I like to think about it like tuning up my bicycle every so often. No one tunes their bike because it's their favorite thing to do. The tune it so that they can keep riding it. It gets them places. They add a little air to the tires each month. They grease the chain. They check and make sure that the gears are working smoothly. You want to do the same thing with your website. Why? Because you want your website to take you places.
Here are the 5 things you want to check during your monthly website adjustment:
1. Double-check your domain name.
New domain names enter the market every day. Maybe you weren't able to get that perfect .com domain name for your business at first. You might be able to down the road. Maybe you ended up with a really long domain name to start, but then you notice that a shorter domain name is available with one of the hundreds of new domain name extensions rolling out -- like .club or .guru or .cafe. Maybe a website address that ends with .photography will totally work for you now. Point is, do a quick look each month to see if there's something that will work a little better for you, or if there's a new domain name you can leverage for your business.
2. Update your content.
This is probably something you want to do each month anyway. Those pictures on your website you took with your iPhone look fantastic right now, but you might be ready to have a professional photographer come in. Maybe you just have a fresh idea, like something your customers recommended or that you noticed on another website.
The content on your home page? It's OK to change that, too. You might be worried about Google not finding your website if you change the words on your page. Don't. As long as you keep those keywords in there, you'll be fine. In fact, you'll be better than fine. Google looks for pages that are updated. It shows search engines that your business is real and growing -- not one of those websites from 1996 that doesn't mean anything anymore.
By the way, if you don't know what keywords are, or what the keywords for your website might be, check out this article. It helps explain it.
3. Make sure it's easy to contact you.
Most designers and website builders out there try to make sure you have your basic contact information on your website, but it doesn't always work. And, to be honest, your organization will grow and change month over month. When you got started, maybe you didn't have a phone number or couldn't figure out how to get your contact form to work. Maybe you moved your business out of your parent's basement and into that really cool loft downtown.
Take some time to review the contact information on your website and make sure that visitors know how to get in touch with you. Email. Phone. Address. Social media. Whatever works. Just make sure that it's up to date and easy to find.
4. If you sell stuff, expand your payment types.
A lot of us have e-commerce sites. And when we first get started selling stuff on our website, we take the path of least resistance. That usually means using a service like PayPal. It's a snap to set up and it's easy to manage. As you grow and become more experienced selling and shipping your merchandise, you'll want to review the types of payments you accept and whether or not it's time to expand.
It's not hard to add all major credit cards to your payment options; it just takes some time to set it up. Maybe this month will be the time to do it. Perhaps you’re now ready for those 50/500/5,000 extra orders.
5. Figure out your mystery page.
I know that sounds pretty cryptic, like something out of a Dan Brown novel. But bear with me for a second and I'll explain.
Your mystery page is the page on your website that's specific and important to your industry. Here's the thing: lots of people recommend a home page and an about me page and a contact page for your website. All of them are important. But most businesses and organizations need a fourth page that's specific to what they do. For example, a restaurant or a cafe has to have a menu page. That's a big deal. But a website for a local dog shelter? Right. Menu is a bad idea. The dog shelter needs a “meet our dogs” page. A designer? A portfolio page.
To restate: your mystery page is the page on your website that's specific and important to your industry.
How do you find out what that page is? It's pretty simple. Look at your competition. Check out what other people like you are doing. And if you don't already have a page like that on your website, now might be the time to add it.
We could have called step No. 5 "Review Your Competition." That's all it really is. What page do you need that's missing from your website now? Look at your competition to get a good idea.
And there you go. Five things to adjust, or think about adjusting, each month. Do this, and you'll see your website grow and develop month over month and become a real, integrated part of your business -- smething that will keep you spinning for years to come.