Web content management – maintain your site Part 2
Web content management – maintain your site part 2
Continuing my thoughts on web content management and maintaining a website.
As I mentioned before in part 1, this article is geared towards small or medium-sized business owners who want to get more involved in managing and maintaining their sites. These are suggestions only and you are of course free to choose how you want to deal with these issues.
Web content management – maintain your site – Part 1
Good content is King
Don’t duplicate your content
How’s your customer service
Web content management updates
Good content is King
Content is king – you need a lot of good quality text and full descriptions on your site if you are selling a product. Google loves unique content. You need keywords that people are going to search for when they go looking for your product or service. You also need very good quality photos of what you are selling. For instance, if it’s clothing, you need to show off the clothes from every angle if you can. Take a look at how the big boys do it e.g. this site. The first thing you see is a clickable image banner across the top advertising a special offer, reduction or whatever. Immediately you are catching the visitor’s attention. Then you have different categories of items further down with good quality pictures and text inviting the potential buyer in.
Think of what it would be like to walk into a sparsely stocked shop with just one or two items hanging on a hanger. Not very exciting and you would walk out immediately. You need to have something that catches visitors’ attention so they want to find out more. Your descriptions of each item you are selling should be as accurate and complete as possible. Spend as much time as you can on getting this part right. Then when you’ve given them lots of information and maybe some client reviews about the product, and a CALL TO ACTION link – they will be happy to part with their cash… :-)
Don’t duplicate your content
Google doesn’t like duplicate content (large sections) across domains and may penalise you in the search rankings if it finds you are trying to deceive by duplicating other site’s content. If your site has pages with duplicate content you can tell Google what your preferred URL is for those pages and it will ignore the others. This is called canonicalization – read more on how to use canonical URLs
Keep everything fresh and original, don’t copy content from other sites. Just be YOU. Try to think up the best descriptions for your products and what they could mean to your potential buyers. The more unique your content – the better.
The Google Webmasters Tool (now called Google Search Console) as discussed in Part 1 will be able to tell you if some of your pages have duplicate meta tags. If you are going to be looking after your site, and you should really – seeing that it’s your business – you should be involved as much as possible. You will need to understand some of the basics to help you get your site to the standard that Google is looking for. They are very helpful because they have guideline documents that tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t do. Don’t try and cheat – it’s better to rather follow the rules.
Of course, you can pay someone to do this for you on a part-time or full-time basis. If you can afford to… but most small businesses can’t, so if you want to sell on the internet you have to understand a little about how the internet works, how people find things and how the search engines collect your website data and display it to visitors and ways to improve your site.
Issues like having good quality images can’t be over-emphasised. If you’re a small retailer and you are selling items, you should, if at all possible and relevant, try to include images that have been taken by a professional photographer showing your products or services in the best possible light. You could even have some images showing scenes from your business so visitors get a feel of who you are. Make it personal and friendly.
Stock images from image websites can be useful but choose carefully. Personally, I like to see real people particularly if I’m visiting a small online business and need to feel comfortable about the surroundings before purchasing. :-)
How’s your customer service?
If you’re a small to medium online retailer with a relatively unknown brand name, you should have clear contact details like a customer support telephone number, email address and postal address for returning items.
You should also clearly state what your returns policy is and where customers can get support if things don’t turn out right. This will give the customer a sense that there is a real person behind the site and someone to speak to if necessary.
Membership of an independent governing body might be a good idea, so you can display their logo on your site. You can also verify your business on Google to show your location in the searches.
When shoppers buy online they need to feel secure about their payment information. So it’s important to have a definite message of how you are going to protect their sensitive data if you’re taking their payments by card or PayPal. Does your site has a Secure Site SSL certificate? Does the padlock appear when your site’s address changes to ‘https//’. (Read more about https). Are you hosting with a secure webhost? Where are you storing the data and do you have a security policy visible on your site? What about your CMS, is it up to date with the latest updates and security fixes?
Nowadays you cannot ignore the social networking scene. It is here to stay and visitors to your site should have the opportunity of sharing your content on social media. This is the best way, kinda like word of mouth, of them telling others about your services, a product they’ve seen, a discounted price of an article or whatever.
You should at the very least have a Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account. These accounts should also be populated with interesting posts that have a ‘Call to Action’. If someone has posted a question on your page you should make sure that it gets answered, politely with full details and perhaps a link to a Support page on your website.
There are rules of engagement when setting up your social accounts. A good advisor is Mari Smith, one of the leading marketing experts. Here is an interesting article about How To Find Your Target Audience On Facebook.
Web Content Management Updates
If you have a CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Magento you need to be able to add content via the backend. You may like to do this yourself or find a Web Content Management Service provider who can do the plugin updates and CMS upgrades for you.
Coming soon > Administering your CMS