Once you’ve had your website built for you (either by us, or someone else) and you’ve been given the login details for your website backend (if you have one), then the ball falls into your court and the success (or failure) depends largely on you.
A great many clients think that once they have a website, it will stay like that forever and will become immediately useful – which is a wrong assumption. Imagine you have just taken delivery of a massive new machine. Just having it sitting there won’t do your business any good and you have to spend some time and attention learning how to use the new machine, learning what it is capable of and what it can’t do (usually through experimentation and hard-won experience).
Websites are exactly the same in that regard, to get the most out of them, you have to be continually updating them as your business evolves and changes and it is up to you to decide how your website will evolve with you otherwise it will end up costing you more in the long run as you will have to either get the website redesigned from time to time or hire out someone else to update the website periodically.
Having said all this, getting started with your new shiny website can be a daunting process for many a new owner.
We highly recommend you start taking baby steps when trying to update your website and as you gain in confidence and technical ability, you’ll be able to do much more over time as you get used to how to work.
If you are just starting out, try just changing a few words at a time, even if you don’t keep the changes. Change one or two words and then change them back, to make sure that you are comfortable changing the text on the website. That way, you are more familiar with how to go about changing the text in larger chunks and not breaking the site in the process when it does come time to change something.
When it comes time to changing an image, most CMS publishing platforms provide some method of uploading new images to the site (usually through some sort of wizard or media uploader in the case or WordPress). Most of the time, it just involves uploading a new image and if your site was developed correctly, the new images should just plug straight into where you need them (otherwise you’re going to need to do some technical wizardry – see below).
Help Is Available
Even if your website development company stops answering your emails or phone calls, there will almost, always be help available for you somewhere on the internet. As an example, if your website is built in WordPress, there are sites dedicated to WordPress that will help (either for free or a small charge).
This goes for just about every other major publishing platforms out there – there are other such communities devoted to the other platforms from Magento through to tiny shopping cart solutions.
Getting the Most from the Website
Once you’re comfortable with editing your website and keeping the website fresh and up to date, you’re going to want to start making your website found so your website can start getting traffic.
There are several ways to do this and we recommend doing all of the following:
- Create a Google Sitemap and submit it to Google. There are services for this although most publishing platforms offer some way to create one automatically. For example, WordPress has several plugins that will do it for you (just search for XML sitemaps in the Plugin area).
- Submit your site to Business Directories. A little time spent here will increase the number of links pointing to your website and will hopefully increase your traffic as the visitors to the directories will see your service and visit your site.
- Submit your site to Internet Directories. Similar to above, but these are more generalised directories available online for listing your sites. We recommend Yahoo Directory and the Open Directory to get you started.
- Get Links Back to Your Site. If you can land a few good backlinks to your site (the more the better), and you’ll should see your website climb up the search engine rankings. Although there are certainly more to this particular topic than here, we will go into this in a more focussed manner in a future blog post.
- Promote Your Website in other Mediums. Get your website URL on business cards, flyers and other mediums will increase awareness of your website.