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Do You Need a Web Site Maintenance Service Plan?

Do You Need a Web Site Maintenance Service Plan?

You may be saying, “I have a web site and we add/update content every once in awhile.  Why would I need a web site maintenance service plan?”

Content management systems are amazing things.  They allow a web site to organically grow, added to by the average user. The down side to CMS program is that there are a lot more pieces than a static HTML site.

Just as a CMS based web site can grow organically as a garden does, just like a garden, a web site takes continual updates and maintenance.  This is exclusive of content updates.

To illustrate, I’ll share what I did to one of my personal sites.

Preparing for a Redesign:  Looking to the Past

Preparing for a Redesign: Looking to the Past

Over the past month, I’ve talking about different reasons why it might be time to redesign a site.  I covered the process of the overhaul of our own site and the three main options for mobile friendly web sites.

If you’re at the point where you’ve decided, “Yes, I need to redesign our site,” before you go any further and starting thinking about what you want, stop for a moment and look at what you have.

Ideally, the next rendition of your business web site should go a step further than where you are now.  That’s the goal.  But don’t throw out what is already working well in the process.

Before you talk to a web developer about new colors and technologies, look at the data of your existing site and answer the five following questions:

10 Signs Your Website Might Be Due for a Redesign

10 Signs Your Website Might Be Due for a Redesign

There are two main groups of people I work with for web development: those who have an existing web site and those who have never had a site.

Those who have never had a web site before very often do not understand the scope of what is involved in developing and maintaining a web site. What they look for in their first web site is not usually what they look for in the subsequent versions of their sites.

It’s kind of like when you bought your very first computer. You didn’t know what you needed, so you relied primarily on recommendations of those who already had one. The next time you upgraded your computer, you knew what was important to you and the focus in your purchasing decision was made on those factors rather than the recommendations of other people.

As you use your site, you figure out what is important to you and your business.

It isn’t necessary to constantly redo your web site, but just as we remodel our homes, upgrade our smart phones, and replace our computers, over time a web site redesign comes due.

Below are 10 signs that your web site might be due for a redesign.

Mobile Web Site Options for 2014

Mobile Web Site Options for 2014

The online marketing environment has changed dramatically over the past few years.  It’s not just about your web site, it also includes social media.  It’s not just about textual content; it’s also about communicating through images and video.

And it’s not just people sitting at their desk and doing a search on their computer for information and services, but they are sitting on their patio looking for information on their tablets, or on their couch browsing information on their smart TV’s, or looking up information on the run . . . literally . . . through their smart phones.

To be competitive, your web site has to accommodate the browsing habits of your target market.  For small businesses that don’t have an IT team solely dedicated to developing a site and internet applications, the question is how to best do that most efficiently in a cost effective manner.

There are three main options to providing a mobile friendly site for visitors.

New Site Design Launch for Wood Duck Farm

New Site Design Launch for Wood Duck Farm

Last week we launched a new web site redesign for Wood Duck Farm.  The farm is located in Cleveland, Texas, and offers a farm CSA program with delivery to a number of locations around the Houston Metro area.  Each week members of the CSA receive a box of fresh produce...

Social Media, Images, Your Clients and You

Social Media, Images, Your Clients and You

Several months ago, I started a new personal blog. Now when you start a new site, there are a few ways you can go to build traffic:  do keyword research and write content targeted for search traffic and link building, network with other high traffic sites in your niche and link building, pay for traffic, or promote your site through social media.

Most people do a combination of all of the above, along with a focus on building their own email list.

I know how to do all that and I do that on other site, but on this sites, I just didn’t want to write with keywords in mind.  I want to write what I want to write about.  Also, some of the topics I write about on this site are things a lot of people would be interested in, but they aren’t searching for.

Since I nixed two legs of a standard traffic building strategy, I had to focus on building an audience through social media sites.  There are a variety of ways I’ve been doing this, but the primary focus has been consistent updates using images.

And it’s worked.

You Only Have Their Attention for a Second

It’s a statement of fact in a culture where a large percentage of the population’s primary form of communication is texts full of abbreviations and hashtags that you only have a few seconds to catch their attention.

You can write awesome content, and you should, but people are probably just going to read the headline.  How many times have you seen a friend share an article on Facebook and by their comment, it is very obvious that they didn’t even read it.

What percentage of shares on your newsfeeds are images?  It may vary depending on the demographics of your friends and fans, but I would put a bet on it being a high percentage.

Launch of New Look

Launch of New Look

I”m sure you’ve heard the adage, “A cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

That has pretty much summed up the condition of this web site for the past couple of years.  In focusing on other projects, both for clients and our own, this site has been allowed to coast.

When someone asked, “Do you have a web site?”  Well, of course, but it was so out-of-date, I hated to send people to it.

When a new client asked, “Do you have examples of work you’ve done?” I had to literally send links because I hadn’t updated the site portfolio in so long.

Making the Decision to Upgrade

Part of the issue was I wanted to redesign and upgrade the site all at once.  During the time I was considering the update, Joomla (which the base site is on) was going through a series of updates.  The major updates usually require some editing to the site template, so I wanted to wait until that settled.

Also, as I have mentioned previously, the biggest issue with migrating a Joomla site through a major update is not the content and the core system itself.  That is usually fairly easy.  Where it gets hairy is all the add on components and plugins.  The time consuming part is looking through all of the existing add ons you are using and checking to see if they are compatible with the new Joomla core as well as with each other.  If not, a new solution has to be found.

The second issue was deciding how to accommodate mobile devices.  Now responsive designs are the accepted standard; however, even as late as 2012 Google was recommending a separate subdomain for mobile.  It wasn’t until 2013 that responsive gained wide acceptance.

Beyond platform and mobile considerations, I went back and forth on the look I wanted to move to.  I actually liked the previous design, it was just starting to look dated.  I actually design two other layouts that were never launched.  The first one was based off the design of this tri-fold display that I really liked.

How to Incorporate Visual Elements Into Your Marketing

How to Incorporate Visual Elements Into Your Marketing

Today’s topic of the day was on how to incorporate visual elements into your marketing  to pack more of a punch.  With all of the options online sharing options including video sites like Youtube and Dailymotion and image sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest, it is almost criminal not to make use of them in your marketing efforts.

Below is a recap of the topics covered if you were following along with us on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter.

Press Releases and Social Media

Press Releases and Social Media

While the core goal of any small business marketing effort should be developing and deepening client relationshipshow that is accomplished is constantly changing.  New competitors move in, old customers move out, new markets develop, and new media emerges.

This is especially true when it comes to anything related to online marketing such as  local listings, search engine rankings, social media, online video, etc.  I can’t tell you how different my promotion routines are from just six months ago, let alone last year.

As the saying goes, “One thing you can always count on is change.”

Taking the Old and Blend with the New

Just because there are shiny new promotional toys in social media such as PinterestGoogle+, and Facebook, it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the tried and true methods of traditional publicity.

A perfect example of how to blend old with new media is combining social media exposure with press releases.

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