Make sure your website doesn’t say that you’ve gone out of business!

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Blogs and websites that have been left to die

Make sure your website doesn’t say that you’ve gone out of business!

This week I carried out a survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies.  My aim was simple – I’m looking for companies that might be interested in help with writing material for their business or managing their social media.

I was shocked with what I found.

My survey was focused only on IT companies – specialist IT services companies!

The amount of sloppy IT work that I uncovered was frightening.  Not just sloppy social media advertising, but also a number of ancient relic websites that look like they were built in the Stone Age (which in computing terms is anything more than a few years ago!).

Survey results – website updates

Out of the 50 companies, 15 companies had websites that are desperately in need of an overhaul.

There were a number of obvious mistakes like:

  • Links that don’t work in Chrome
  • Websites that have been optimised for an 800×600 screen
  • Websites that are not responsive (as in.. they won’t look good on a mobile phone)
  • Copyright info dating back to 2012 or earlier
  • Websites that just look awful compared to modern designs

These websites are so far out of date, it looks like the company has gone out of business.

Survey results – social media presence

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

54% of the companies had no social media presence at all.  That’s ok – it’s not a requirement to be on Facebook and twitter.

Another 13% were doing a really great job of it. Constant updates, regular engagement with their audience, blogs with good material.

However, one third of the companies really struggled.   These companies had done something in the social media space, but then left it to wither and die.  They had a page on Facebook, Twitter, etc, and even had a few updates.. but then.. nothing.

They also had a blog or “news” page with very few updates, and often no updates for months at a time.  It is hard to call it “news” if there is nothing new on there!

Bad social media presence is a whole lot worse than no social media presence

The bottom line is –

If you are not going to keep a blog or social media page updated regularly, don’t make one!

It gives a really bad impression to have a website that is so obviously out of date.

First impressions matter

Having an out of date website leaves a very bad impression.  It is very easy to tell which websites have been updated in the past couple of years.  Modern, responsive websites all have a particular look about them.  Any website that hasn’t been updated in that time looks very old, and gives the impression that the company may not really know what it’s doing.

The sad part was, all of these were IT services companies.  If IT companies can’t modernise their website when they probably have the skills available in-house, how is the rest of the business community meant to do it?

The good news is that keeping websites and social media up to date is a lot easier than it looks.

Tips for keeping your website and social media alive

The following can keep your website and social media presence alive with the absolute minimum of effort.

1.      Use WordPress for your website, and update the theme regularly

If you are struggling to keep your website up to date, this is the best tip for you!

WordPress is a content management system for websites.  It is very easy to use, and many web hosting providers have a one-click install for getting it up and running.

There are hundreds of different themes that can be used with WordPress – each providing a different style for your website.  It will not take long to find one that you like.  Do a search on “Wordpress themes” in your favourite search engine to get started.  Other good searches are “best responsive WordPress themes” or “best free responsive WordPress themes”.

Many themes are up to date with all of the modern features.  They work on all modern browsers and automatically resize content to work on mobile phones, tablets, desktops – you name it!

You don’t need to know anything about coding webpages – just put in the text and WordPress and your theme will look after the presentation for you.

There are also a number of providers that will run WordPress for you – you only need to worry about the content.

WordPress also has a multitude of plugins that make enhancing your website easy.  It is very easy to install a plugin to provide whatever features you want – from being able to add social media sharing icons through to running an online store.

WordPress themes and plugins are also updated regularly.  Keeping your website up to date is as easy as logging into the admin console once a month and installing the updates that are available.

2.      Be consistent

If you have a blog, news section or any social media pages, make sure you post updates regularly.

As a minimum, post something every month.  It doesn’t have to be new material – just post a link to something that is relevant to your audience, and a brief blurb about why it is relevant.

It will be enough to show that your company is still alive.

Whatever you do, don’t post a few updates during one enthusiastic week, and then leave your pages idle for months on end.  Over time, this lack of updates looks really silly.

Note – if you want to get any traction with a blog and social media in general , you really need to be posting at least a couple of times, preferably three, a week.   For platforms like twitter, a few times a day is better.

3.      Consider removing your blog and social media pages

If you don’t want to have to worry about making regular updates, that’s ok – you can always remove your blog and social media pages.  Just review your website content at least once a year, and occasionally update the look and feel of the website (see tip 1 above), and the job will be done.

You can also create a company page on sites like LinkedIn.  These work just as well if it has static information about your company.  They don’t all need updates.

If you have any existing articles on your blog that you want to keep, you can always re-brand the page as a “resources” section.

If you do post any information that is only relevant for 6 months, put a note in your calendar to take it down when it is no longer relevant.

Summary

Just remember, your website and your social media pages say a lot about your business.  Just make sure they don’t come across like this..

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

PPS – If you need some help resurrecting your website, send me your web address.  I’m happy to give some free advice on where to start.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Cemetery image by Stockvault


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