by Lily Bradic
The ever-evolving nature of social media means that all brands have access to a modern, up-to-date platform through which to communicate with their audience. Used efficiently, social links can bring more traffic to your website than search. But, if your website is stuck in 2003, all that traffic means is a high bounce rate.
On Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and G+, all profiles have a uniform structure, loading speed, and layout. It’s not about how much you paid your web developer or your graphic designer — every brand starts as an egg on Twitter, and each Facebook Page begins with zero likes. All the tools you need are right in front of you. Where you go from there is your choice.
It's not the same with websites. Small businesses are often scared — whether that’s due to a bad experience with a web developer, a misconception that all content management systems (CMS) are awful, or the perceived cost of getting a functional website built (hint: it’s much less than you’d think).
This fear can lead to inactivity. As the capacity of social platforms grows, a brand’s social presence tends to evolve with it — but the website is still there, becoming less responsive, less competitive, and less capable of retaining the attention of desktop and (especially) mobile viewers. Your website is at the center of all your online activity. If it’s outdated, unoptimized, and irrelevant to your audience, then the effectiveness of your social efforts is severely limited.
Here are five things you can do to bring yourself up to date:
· Take inventory. Get a piece of paper, and a pen, and list the content on your website. Cross-reference this with your social media objectives and your business goals. What types of content are missing? What doesn’t need to be there? What do you need more of? From this, create a content plan, and get writing. Evergreen content is best, as it can be re-shared via social channels in future.
· Add social sharing buttons. If you can’t drag and drop these directly via your CMS, you can find HTML codes online. Try AddThis.
· When did you last refresh your homepage copy? If it was more than a year ago, make sure it still accurately represents where you are as a brand. Check for any out-dated references to events or holidays. Social media moves quickly — if your website doesn't know what year it is, it's going to get left behind.
· Make sure your fonts, backgrounds and images are fresh and up-to-date. Simple is best. No comic sans, no large (or tiny) text, no busy tiled backgrounds, and none of those awful cyan/magenta/green/yellow colors. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Nobody will share your links if your website hurts their eyes.
· If your CMS is holding you back, consider migrating to WordPress. With blog integration, thousands of widgets and plugins, and fantastic SEO and social media support, a WordPress build will give you the control you need over your website. Web developers generally don’t charge much for these builds, and you won’t need to speak to them every time you want something changed on your homepage. You can do it yourself (and no, it won’t look like a blog).
Readers: What efforts have you made to make your website social worthy recently? Let us know in the comments!