In this Internet age, even the guy on the corner hawking his wares has a website. But merely having a website is not enough. Even if you’ve invested a significant amount of time and resources into building a state of the art site, driving traffic and remaining relevant depends on a few basic guidelines. Here, then, are some pointers to keep your site ahead of the game in 2014.
1. Set Clear Goals
When it comes to your company’s website, what are your goals? Are you a resource? Are you raising funds? Raising awareness? All of the above? Whatever it is, it is crucial that you identify your goals before you throw some copy online. You wouldn’t just get in your car and drive without having a destination, would you? The same goes for your organization’s website. To be effective, you must first define your objectives. Once you have identified your goals, it will be a breeze to add the content.
2. Content is Information
Speaking of content, it’s just a fancy word for information. Much of your content should be in the form of images and videos, but even in 2014, the bulk of online content is still good, old-fashioned text. Whether it’s a blog, staff bio’s or an explanation of what your organization does, content is the key to communicating who you are and what you do. Just as importantly, it’s your face to the world at large and your first step towards establishing a relationship with the public.
3. Good Writing is Clear Writing
Too often, organizations decide to save resources by assigning an already over worked staffer with the responsibility of writing the web copy. If it’s possible, then it’s worth the investment to set aside funds to hire a professional writer to produce clear, concise and well-written content. You don’t need a professional to update your site on a regular basis; you just need them to set the foundation.
4. Staying Current
Certainly, in this information age remaining static is the kiss of death. The good news is that with so much amazing content already online, there is no reason to break your teeth coming up with a steady stream of original blogs, articles and images. Because keeping your content current doesn’t have to be labor intensive. Merely check out what else is online and reach out to other sites about re-posting their content. Linking to videos or articles is a win-win because it drives traffic to your site – and to theirs. It also creates a sense of community among organizations, which is always good.
Take the time now to put together a game plan for keeping your site fresh and relevant. Figure out your budget. Shop around for a writer. Search for guest bloggers. See what content is out there that overlaps with your organization’s goals. Reach out to them and see if they are open to sharing. Then draft a plan for the next six months. How often will you update your site? How often will you post original content? What percentage will be repostings? Revisit your plan after six months and see what worked and what didn’t. Revise, update and take heart: You’re well on your way to a happy, healthy website!
Abigail Pickus is a writer and editor living in Evanston. You can see her work at: www.abigailpickus.com