Is your website stale? Has its content or appearance (or both) remained static and unchanged for too long?
If so, you might be giving your customers and prospects (as well as potential team members and partners) the impression that you’re missing in action. (Because, in a way, you are.)
In his LinkedIn post, 4 Problems You Encounter By Having a Stale Website, John Meloche writes (emphasis added),
It’s a rarity to walk into a store one month and then walk into that same store the following month and see the exact same layout. Most often, store managers ensure that their product displays and signage are regularly changed so that visitors are provided with new visual stimuli. When customers are greeted with the exact same appearance time in and time out, they get the feeling that nothing new is happening with the business. Your website is no different.
And then he goes on to state (and I agree),
These days, your company website is most likely to be the first place a curious consumer will go to learn about your business.
I’ll leave it to you to read his post, but here are the 4 problems he identifies:
- A dwindling number of visitors
- Minimal search engines hits
- A poor reputation
- A loss of business
So, what to do?
Maintaining a fresh web presence doesn’t have to be difficult or costly, and here are are a few things you can do.
Change the Look & Feel — If Only a Little
You don’t have to do a complete makeover of your website to give it a fresh look. Here are a few tips that shouldn’t take long (or cost much, if you’re using a web designer):
Replace Old Images With New Ones
Whether they are portraits of you and your team members, a background hero image on your homepage, or “eye candy” images, replacing images that you’ve been using for years with new ones can make an immediate impression for website visitors.
Play With Colors
Even if your brand has a specific color scheme, you can change things up by swapping primary and secondary colors thoughout your site. If your website uses well-crafted CSS (which it should), changing up colors can be accomplished in minutes.
Play With Typography
Typography is the single most important ingredient in your website’s look and feel. And both the conventions for how text should be displayed on a website and the technical advancements related to rendering website text have changed quite a bit over the years.
There are so many things you can do with fonts.
- Change font families for headings and body text.
- Change font sizes.
- Change line height (the space between adjacent lines of text referred to as “leading” in traditional typography). This is an example of text whose line height has been changed from the “normal”. Compare this with the next block of text.
- You can even change letter spacing (“tracking” in traditional typography) to effect subtle changes in text appearance. (For example, decreasing letter spacing in heading text is considered by many to be pleasing and desirable. See the simulated examples below.)
All of these modifications are extremely simple to implement — again, if your site uses well-crafted CSS.
The most important thing you can do do freshen your website and web presence is blog more. Unfortunately, it’s also the thing that most people I talk to have the most difficulty doing. It takes work. It takes time. It takes discipline. All that said, your website blog can and should be the heart and hub of your online marketing strategy. (I’ve written about this here and here.)
If you’re not blogging as much as you should (and you’re the judge of that), here are some tips:
Use Your Mouth More and Your Fingers Less: Dictate!
Pretty much every device you use these days supports speech-to-text. If you’re not a great typist, if you can talk faster than you can type (can’t we all), or if you think faster when you talk, why not work smarter and dictate your thoughts into a digital document you can clean up afterwords.
Change Your Mindset
There’s no law that a blog must be text — or all text. Get creative. You can share potentially useful information in a variety of formats.
Use Image Galleries
In many circumstances, a blog post can be a gallery of images with just a bit of explanatory text.
- If you rent out vacation property, put together a gallery of images of the recent kitchen remodel.
- If you’re a speaker or trainer, show a gallery of attendees from a recent event.
- If you’re a web designer, show screen shots of a recent project launch.
- And so on.
Don’t be discouraged by the “conventional wisdom” of SEO tools that warn you when your blog post has fewer than the “recommended” number of characters.
Have you thought about video or audio blog posts? If you have a device that records audio and video (and who doesn’t these days?), you have almost everything you need to create a talking-head video (or audio) on a topic of your choosing.
Note that It’s usually best to store videos — which require lots of bandwidth — on a video service like YouTube or Vimeo and embed them in your blog posts. You can get a free YouTube or Vimeo account in minutes.
(And please don’t get hung up on looking for the perfect camera, lighting, or microphone. That smartphone of yours and the webcam on your laptop are both more than adequate.)
Here’s a blog post of mine from 10 years ago. It consists of a video — recorded with an old webcam with lousy lighting — and a transcription. (Click on image to see the blog post.)
One of main reasons to blog is to engage with members of your target audience. Surveys are a potentially great way to engage.
A nifty thing about surveys is that once you’ve compiled the results, you have an excuse to publish a follow-up blog post that reports on those results!
There are plenty of survey applications you can use — many free — and most let you embed your surveys inside web pages and posts.
(The survey linked to in this article should take you all of 90 seconds to fill out. It was created with Gravity Forms.)
So, you liked the idea of recording a talking head video, but after you pressed record, your brain went blank and nothing came out of your mouth.
Here’s an idea: Have a friend interview you in a Zoom meething that you record and then post to your blog.
(I do understand that this solution might require some video editing software and skills, so it might not suit everyone.)
Can’t Think of Something to Blog About? Get Help.
One of the more common problems people have with blogging is deciding what to blog about — or worse, thinking they don’t have anything to blog about.
If you have a website that markets your expertise and skills, it’s a safe bet you have “stuff” worth sharing.
The problem is that you’re so immersed in your work (and perhaps a bit too humble about your work) to realize that there are countless topics you could blog about — topics you think about and work on almost every day.
So, how do you solve that problem?
Ask a friend, an associate, a family member (or your web consultant) to help you unearch the “acres of diamonds” in your own back yard.
I do this a lot with clients.
For example, when Rick, a management consultant and college and university professor, told me he wanted to blog but didn’t have anything to blog about, we set up a short telephone consult in which I simply asked him to tell me about some of his recent seminars. He immediately recounted a particularly lively class discussion, and the topic of that discussion became the topic of his next blog post.
Sometimes it takes a “disinterested” party to help us see what’s right in front of our noses.
I hope some of these ideas hit home for you. If you have comments — including other suggestions — or questions, please enter them in the comments below.
And now, as promised, here’s a short survey I hope you’ll complete. I plan to report on the results in a future blog post.