Ask SCORE – Don’t Tackle the 21st Century With a 20th Century Website

Taken a look at your website recently? If not you’d better, because you may not like everything you see. And if you’re not happy with it, it’s quite likely your potential customers certainly won’t be either.

While a website remains the anchor of most small business marketing strategies, the way visitors access and interact with them has changed. More than just electronic billboards and menus for your product or service, websites are now considered repositories of information that visitors use to learn more about what you do, specifics of your products or services, or examples of how you’ve helped people like them.

If you’re blogging and want to direct readers to a specific section of your website, you want that information to be complete, timely, and relevant. You also want to make it easy for visitors to find related information (e.g., similar products or other client case studies), and move around to other areas of the site. Don’t leave them on an island in cyberspace.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has also never been more important in raising a website’s profile, which is why your content should be filled with the keywords that prospective customers are likely to use. In addition, your website information should also be updated regularly. Fresh content is more likely to be spotted by a search engine than something that hasn’t changed in decades. Sites such as Search Engine Watch (searchenginewatch.com) are great resources for keeping up with the ever-expanding range of search engine technology.

Finally, don’t forget mobile devices. Because more web searches are being performed with smartphones and similar “on the go” tools, it may be worthwhile to develop a dedicated mobile site, or at least make your current website more readable on those small screens.

Entrepreneur.com technology editor Jason Fell recommends displaying your company’s important information (name, address, contact information, etc.) at the top of the page in plain text, and configuring other pages for convenience so that visitors don’t have to jump from one to the other. Flash-based videos should also be avoided on mobile sites, as their large size can take longer to download—something that may tax a visitor’s patience.

Another great source for small business expertise is SCORE “For the Life of Your Business.” SCORE is a non-profit organization of more than 12,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners.

 

To learn more about the local chapters of SCORE, visit www.thevillagesocala.score.org or www.lakesumter.score.org

 

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One comment on “Ask SCORE – Don’t Tackle the 21st Century With a 20th Century Website

  1. Good advice! Thanks for the article, SCCoC! In regard to Flash-based videos, etc., you should probably avoid Flash altogether, whether video or otherwise, as Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Apple laptops and desktops, do not support Flash at all!

    There are other web-based video formats, such as mp4 and webm, that load quickly on mobile and are built for online streaming (YouTube made the switch quite some time ago). Further, with Google’s new “mobile-geddon” update, if your site is not responsive (mobile-friendly) you will be penalized and will not get ranked favorably. Thanks again for the great article!

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