Not too many years ago, most businesses didn’t even have a website and then it gradually grew to being necessary for most businesses. Today, just having a website is not enough, it must be engaging, as well as informative.
In this age of instant gratification, ease of access to the internet from home, tablets, and now smart phones, expectations have grown. Is your website falling behind in the dust of the information age?
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what you should have and what the extras are that may not be ‘needs’ now but will be in the near future:
1. A well-crafted website utilizing crisp graphics, design, simplicity, ease of text size and layout reading, readability scored of over 60, having multiple pages, and being easy for the visitor to navigate, are all must haves. The menu bar needs to be in the order of importance to your visitor (today’s smart marketing trend).
2. Make sure your website is a platform that someone in your business can easily administer. A good platform is Wordpress due to its ease of use from the administrative panel and how many free plug-ins are available.
3. When a website has changes made regularly to it, the benefits are that it shows you care and search engines ‘like’ you more which benefits you when potential customers are searching for you. Other website additions that are rapidly becoming standard and should be included are:
a. A regular newsletter that is sent out to residents (paper), resident family members (e-mail), and associated businesses (e-mail) such as doctor offices, churches, adult care centers, senior services, and others. Keeping people informed about the events, activities and great things about your business are important for creating community, showing you care, are active in showing it, and it can easily gain you more business. Some options – other businesses contributing material or advertising.
b. Blog – this means someone on staff writing a 250 word post every week (don’t forget your tags) or at least once a month. Blog posts can be informative, educational, talk about events or other interesting activity, used to relay ‘what’s happening’ sooner than a newsletter can, and is available to a wider audience. Include one graphic in your blog post and learn how to create great blog posts. Make it fun so people keep returning.
Make sure readers are able to leave comments on your blog and moderate them daily or at least weekly. Blogs create community. Include the ability for readers to share the post on social media or to e-mail it to others too – their marketing you!
c. Search Engine Optimization. You can actually have your website staff person do this if they know how to look up keywords using Google Keywords and if they know something about SEO. There are web companies who specialize in SEO and will offer maintenance packages in this for thousands of dollars – save your money. Having a web designer who understands SEO (many will say they do but really don’t) and who does work on your website is the best avenue since they know your business, plus your SEO will change as your offerings and the internet changes.
SEO and your website page titles, tags, page descriptions, and keyword content density mean getting found when searched for. Be on page 1 vs. page 25!
d. Keep metrics and analytics (website plug-ins and Google Analytics) to see where your website traffic is coming from. Making informed marketing decisions means having the information you need to do so.
4. Trends: As you've probably already seen, it seems every business now has a Facebook page and this is something you can consider but be aware that it can be time consuming or you can hire someone else to do it for you. Carefully explore if this marketing strategy fits your business vs. jumping on the trend wagon.
Placing a ‘like’ button on each major page of your website and blog for viewers to click may attract interest and respect from future viewers.
Mobile applications have arrived in a much more mainstreamed way, and are a trend that is growing incredibly fast. If your website can't be found on a mobile device, consider adding this to your marketing strategy. Is your business easy to find via GPS too – if not, this is something to seriously change. You want anyone who is looking for you to be able to find you.
Create an audio for marketing on iTunes and a video for marketing on YouTube can be smart moves for targeting the up-coming technologically minded seniors and their families.
Times are changing, the ability of different generations in using technologies, and the plethora of marketing avenues keeps increasing, and this means finding the marketing methods that will give you the ‘biggest wow’ for your buck and time. The need for having a website is already here and is evolving rapidly in ways for you to maximize its marketing ability. Will you be ready?
If you don't have or know of resources to meet your website needs for any of the above mentioned, contact me and I’ll gladly provide you with some trusted resources, based on your needs, that can get the job done effectively and within budget. I don’t want anyone to get less quality or pay too much than you should.
Write to me for more information about website trends and practices: