You ask. Or maybe you don’t ask because your website already has a content management system. At any rate, if your business is the type that will benefit from a professional online profile when prospective clients Google you, or if your business has the potential to get new customers from the web, then YES content management can help your website, and in the end, your business.
If you don’t know what content management is, according to Wikipedia…
Content management, or CM, is the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. In recent times this information is typically referred to as content or, to be precise, digital content. Digital content may take the form of text, such as documents, multimedia files, such as audio or video files, or any other file type which follows a content lifecycle which requires management.
As it applies to this article, a content management sytem (CMS) is a wrapper that holds your website in such a way that you can easily edit your site yourself with an internet connection, a web browser and the basic knowledge of how to navigate the web.
Joomla and WordPress are 2 CMS I’ve worked with. Both are open source software (free to download, written and maintained by a collaboration of those in the programming community who care to contribute). They have “plugins” available that will extend the functionality of the website they’re running. Most plugins are free but some you have to pay for. You will have to pay your webmistress to hook you up with this stuff.
How do I get a CMS? What is the process?
Here’s how it works. At least here’s how I do it. Your webmistress installs a CMS for you, along with it a fresh new contemporary look (why not?) — or if your website is already bitchin’ — she creates it to look like your existing site. Once your CMS site is up and running, you, armed with only a web browser and internet connection, after a short lesson, can keep it updated yourself.
Why do I want to do this?
- Instant Gratification
If you add a new department to your business, or a new service, instead of calling your webmaster and waiting however many days they take to help you, just login and add the new information to your website yourself, NOW.
- Better Ranking in Search Engine Results
The way some CMS are coded makes Google happy. They are lean, comply with web standards which gives them higher rank, and are content-focused. Your site will rank higher when there’s more relevant content than there is messy code in your files. And if there’s new content added regularly. This takes a while but pays off in the long run.
- Lower Web Maintenance Costs
You can decide to change your site for free everyday if you like. No more sacrificing fresh content because your web budget is blown.
What do I add to my website?
You can add pages to your site that enhance the information you’ve already presented to your clients, perhaps according to a long-term plan you’ve made.
Depending on what you’re selling you could add support information that people will find when they need your service or product. Here’s a good example. The other day my washer started leaking. I live and die by Google, so I got on there and found a website with video showing how to open the front of my particular type of washer. Once the front was off it was clear the pump (I only knew it was the pump because of the video) was leaking & needed to be replaced. The website with the video, turned out, sells that pump for my washer, imagine! So I bought a pump from them.
Another way to beef up the content on your site is to add articles in more of a blog fashion, sharing information AND letting your clients get to know you better at the same time. If you’re not a nice person, or if you are not good at forming sentences, find someone who is and have them write your articles. In the end the hope is that your clients will relate to you, like you, or feel a sense of confidence in your abilities. Running spell check is a good idea.
A couple of tips…
Add fresh content regularly. Google loves it when you put up new content. Returning visitors to your site will also appreciate new content. This could mean just changing your homepage text regularly, but my advice is to take a little time and make a long-term plan. Which leads to the next item:
Make a plan. If the objective of your website is to get more paying customers, then your goal should be to build a rich, content-heavy site that contains a lot of information your potential customers are searching for on the web. Look around at some competitor sites that blow you out of the water and go from there, but make it your own. Create a storyboard using pieces of paper, each with an idea for a page or area of your website. Lay the papers out on the floor creating the flow you imagine on your website, refine it, then break it down into easy tasks that will move you closer to your goal each couple of days with a minimum amount of time involved in each sitting. Keep your goal flexible & fluid, rethink it occasionally. The web is changing and some of your competitors are changing with them, if your business is responsive you will do well.
But… this all depends on you!
The web didn’t build itself, and so you will need to devote a little time, regularly, to adding content to your site. I enjoy putting content on my site, it makes me think about my business in a broader sense, and it makes me consider my customers. All good stuff. I’m writing for you, as you will be writing for your clients. Or potential clients.
*hire me* Whew. Ok. Got that out of the way.