When I first started my small business over five years ago, I set up a few ‘web design packages’ to help me think about estimating and pricing projects. The smallest one was ‘The Business Card Site.’ It was a one or two-page website that would basically have a logo, a bio on the client, and a list of services.
No one ever hired me to create a small business card site, but I’ve had a number of clients in the past few years who had me create larger websites that they subsequently treated like a business card – look at it, put it away; out of site out of mind.
Is it true that if a client spends more, they’ll pay more attention to their site after it launches? That seems to have some correlation… I can say for sure that my clients who invest more money and/or effort into getting their website (or redesign) off the ground tend to feel like they have more of a stake in it.
But what about those clients who get a small business website designed and built, have it launched, then never touch it again? Sometimes they feel guilty. They know they should be doing something with their site, they’re just not sure what. Or they don’t have time or resources to figure it out right now. It’ll still be there in a few months.
But as often as not clients who abandon their websites think they’ve been fooled. They think that sneaky web designer pulled one over on them, convincing them that ‘if we build it, they will come.’ And it never panned out. The throngs didn’t materialize and the sales didn’t skyrocket.
Occasionally a client like this will come to me, angry at his or her former designer for not making their site successful. ‘We never got ranked well in Google,’ they’ll say. ‘Our designer obviously didn’t know what he was doing.’
Maybe. But just as likely, their site probably failed from neglect.
A new site might make a mark on Google – show up well against some competitors if the site was optimized correctly. But when a site never changes, Google’s bots lose interest. Why should they come back when nothing new is happening? They’ll check out a site less frequently, and eventually may stop visiting it altogether. A good search engine ranking will begin to slip and fall. The site will eventually seem to disappear.
I feel really good when a client of mine becomes a fan of their own small business website. For them, it’s not ‘whew, it’s done, now we can get back to business.’ Instead, it’s ‘how cool. What can we do to make this thing even better?’
A site that’s used, changed, freshened up on occasion keeps Google interested – and as a bonus, it keeps people interested too. There are so many ways that a website can help a business engage its customers today – and modern content management systems provide all kinds of truly easy ways to add interest and value. Relegating a website to the status of ‘business card’ is not something business owners can afford to do anymore.
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