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Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business Website

It was once optional for a small business to have a website. Nowadays, having an 24/7 online presence is mandatory to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

But keeping a website current and up-to-date is often hard for a small business. Your employees often have little “spare” time for tasks such as site updates and, as a result, websites can easily be forgotten – left on the “do it tomorrow” pile. Without this required attention, a stagnant site will soon start to repel potential business customers, rather than attract.

Luckily, with a little planning during the development stage (and a regular dedication of time), these problems can be easily avoided and your website can become a strong marketing hub for your small business that doesn’t drain your resources.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteIntegrate a Content Management System (CMS) from Day One

A user-friendly Content Management System allows site owners and managers the ability to update and create new content directly on their websites. By integrating a CMS as the framework for a new website, you are instantly putting yourself into the driver’s seat to control what goes on your site and how “fresh” it stays.

Learning a CMS is not hard either. The basics of WordPress CMS can be learnt in a matter of minutes, as the editing functions are styled like that of a Word Processor. As I often say to new clients – “If you can create a document in Word, then you can update your own website!”

Use a Content Calendar (and stick to it)

A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) helps to plan out new content for your website or social media feed and details when it will be created. This weekly, monthly or yearly calendar should be an integral part of your business’ overall marketing strategy.

By planning content in advance, you (or whoever manages your website) can commit to producing site-worthy information that is suitable for your target audience. By putting a due date on it and ensuring that date is adhered to, working on your site becomes part of your everyday business schedule.

Automate Site Updates and Customer Interaction

If it is possible to time aside for working on your site’s content, take advantage of tools such as the content scheduling that is built into WordPress. Create five blog posts or page updates at one time then use the schedule to program the dates that you want the content to be released onto your website.

Here’s the secret: this blog post you are reading was one of five that I wrote over a recent weekend. I have set the schedule in WordPress to release one every two weeks. Blog Posts for next 10 weeks – done!

Schedule a Post

Allow an Employee to take ownership of website management

Although small businesses don’t have employees to “spare”, it would be ideal to assign the maintenance and upkeep of the website to one person – a web-savvy employ who could take care of both website and social media posts.

Giving ownership of the site to an employee (with guidance of course) ensures that the site will be monitored and “fed” new content to keep your online customers, and Google, happy.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteGet your Web Developer to care of updates for you

If all else fails and managing your website is just not possible in-house, look to a professional. Many web development companies offer a monthly plan which includes website content updates. Caution though, if you are taking this option, compare the plan price against the everyday (hourly) rate of the company to ensure that you are getting a decent offer.

You will still to need to provide content via email but a professional will get it online, make it look pretty and ensure that it gets the right sort of attention.

As discussed in a previous blog post, an out-of-date website that is uncared for will cost you business. Prospects visiting the site will get a poor first impression and Google won’t care for your site either. With the tips above, your site remains “fresh” and acting as a positive reflection of the small business that it portrays.

Google Loves a Fast Site – Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business Site

Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business SiteAs proved by 27% of all websites on the internet, the WordPress CMS is an amazing framework to build upon when creating any site. Not only is it simple to use and update, WordPress has a huge community of developers around it, consistently creating new plugins for use in the CMS. The base framework of WordPress itself is so popular, it is estimated to be used by over 70 million websites worldwide!

It’s so simple to use WordPress to add fresh content, plugins and imagery that sites can easily get slowed down by the shear workload. Today’s internet-savvy visitors expect a site to load its content in under five seconds – any longer, and they will start leaving in droves.
Luckily there are five simple actions that you (or your web developer) can put into place to ensure that your site speed is up there with the best.

#1 Optimise all Images

All website owners and operators need to ensure that images have been optimised before they are uploaded to a website. This means that PNG files should be run through an optimizer like TinyPNG to reduce them and JPG images files must be reduced to at most 80% quality. There’s plenty of free editors that can help with this optimisation including the very capable Irfanview.

#2 Minimise Website Code

Most websites are made of complex programming code, generating everything that you can see on the browser screen. This code is not usually contained in one single file, meaning that your site is “pulling” information from several places as it loads, slowly down the load time.
Adding a plugin to your site such as JCH Optimize helps to automatically compress and tidy up some of the code (specifically CSS, JavaScript and HTML) into one file on the server. This singular file is then accessed by your site visitors, effectively speeding up the load time on their browsers.

#3 Reduce call-outs to external sites

Whilst grabbing web fonts from Google and displaying Social Media on your site may be appealing and give you loads of instant content, they are responsible for a majority of site drag. When accessing information from external sites, your poor website not only has to load itself but it also needs to load content from these other sites.

To prevent this, use common fonts or fonts that can be stored on your own server and minimise your Social Media display – at least on the home page.

#4 Optimise your site’s database

Over time, site updates and usage takes a toll on the database which stores all the information for your site. Keep this data inline and optimised with the WP-Optimize plugin – it will automatically tidy the stored information on a set schedule and keep the background of your site neat and tidy for quick access.

#5 Use Online Tools to determine blockages

If you have tried all the tips above and still need to squeeze out a few seconds of load time, head over to GTMetrix and type in your website address. This online tool analyses your site speed using Google PageSpeed and provides a concise list of how your site is performing and where improvements can be made. Some areas may be too technical and need the assistance of a web developer however quite a few can be “fixed” by a novice user with a few spare minutes.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that not only is site speed essential to your visitors, it’s also important to your Google ranking too. Page speed is an important part of the Google Algorithm – slow loading sites will be penalised with low ranking in search results.

Need help getting your site “Up to Speed”? Rusty Mango Design are specialists in developing WordPress sites and we can tweak your small business site until it is purring like a kitten. Send us an email today and we’ll check it out on GTMetrix for you (free-of-charge) and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help!

How You Can Make Google Sit Up and Pay Attention

It’s time to dispel a myth.

The act of simply getting a website DOES NOT mean that Google will automatically sit up and take notice of your business.

Your small business website is an important portal to your business – not Google’s. They won’t automatically place your business at #1 on the search rankings just because you have a site.  And the truth of the matter is that Google will continue to basically ignore your business until you (and your web developer) put some plans into action to make them sit and pay attention.

Here’s some tips from the Rusty Mango team to help you in the right direction….

Mobile ResponsiveMobile Viewing is Vital

As of 2015, making websites mobile responsive for viewing on phones and tablets became a priority for all. This was thanks to Google, stating loud and clear, that sites that were not optimised for viewing on mobile devices would be penalised in search rankings or, even worse, not even appear in mobile search results.

Google aside, now that over 74% of Australians rely on their phones as much as they rely on their desktops (Galaxy Poll), it’s definitely time to ensure that your small business site is mobile-friendly. 

All new Rusty Mango Design sites are mobile-responsive from day one for this very reason.

Don’t Use a Generic Business Name

If you already have a reputable brand then this particular action is going to be hard to implement. When establishing your business name, be sure to select one that is not previously used by other businesses, particularly in your industry. Even similar names can cause issues.

Why? Two problems can arise online – one, you may find it hard to register the domain name that you want and two, most importantly with SEO, Google may show your competitor’s name when users are actually searching for you!

Back LinkingShare Site Links with Your Industry

Although nowhere as important as they used to be, inbound links still give your site credence in the eyes of the Google-Bot. In days gone by, sites would inherit “importance” or ranking from any sites that linked back to them – reciprocal links were very popular among web masters. That importance has been downscaled in recent versions of the Google ranking algorithm but it is still there to a lesser degree.

To take advantage of inbound links, ask that your industry contacts link back to your website and, in return, you will link out to them.

Use A Plugin to Optimise Your Pages

When it comes to optimising your site for SEO (search engine optimisation), ticking all the boxes to make Google happy is a difficult task. Luckily for those sites using a Content Management System – there are site add-ons (plugins) like Yoast SEO to help get the job done.

Yoast SEO uses a coloured “light” icon to indicate whether the SEO on a page has been done correctly. Red: Incomplete, Orange: Partially Done and Green: Optimised. As the user adjusts the SEO settings using the easy to understand Yoast recommendations (Page Title, Description, Alt Tags, etc.), the “light” icon changes. Aim for the green “light” and you have given your page a good chance of success with Google.

Fresh ContentFresh Content

“Content is King” has been a catchphrase for quite a while now and nothing has changed. Google still loves sites that keep their content fresh, engaging and relevant to the target audience. The Google-Bots trawl the web regularly and they will notice who is updating their sites and who isn’t.

Of course, the easiest way to get some Google “love” is to pay for some. The Google AdWords system is the way that their company makes the bulk of their income. If you sign up for pay-per-click, you will suddenly become a Google VIP and your business listing will appear in the Ads in search results.

Have a Search right now and see where your small business site appears. If it isn’t on that all important page one, look at the actions above and create your own Google SEO strategy.

If your brand image needs to be consistent, why doesn’t your website?

Be ConsistentAll business owners would (or should be) be aware of brand consistency – the practice by which the logos, colours and style of a company are shown in the same manner anywhere the business is seen. McDonalds restaurants are the kings of this consistency – wherever a McDonalds in located throughout the world, there is absolutely no doubting which brand is in operation. This is done through a stringent company manifesto that steadfastly lays out the strict guidelines that must be adhered to. Even companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – who allow others to use their logos in various applications – have these guidelines to protect their public image.

The process of consistent branding is so important to building a recognisable business.

A sense of consistency is important in many facets of business – processes, system, employment, discipline and even the layout of offices. So why do many businesses neglect consistency within their websites?

Browsing the web in the past week for inspiration, I came across sites that clearly had been updated with absolutely no thought to maintaining a consistent look throughout the pages. One business in particular was so glaringly bad at this, its website inspired me to write this post.

It wasn’t the design of the site that was bad – it actually was quite attractive. The site was ruined by the fact that it had been handed over to the client and they had no idea about how to keep “the look” of the design flowing throughout the pages. On the front page itself, it was very clear to see where the professional designer had finished and the website owner/administrator had taken over. It made the company look unprofessional.

The sad part is that this problem is so easy to avoid. Here’s five tips to keep your site consistent with your original “vision”:

Tip #1: Fonts

Use the same fonts throughout your site. Resist the urge to try out every new font that you discover on your website’s Content Management System. Novels and magazines don’t generally change fonts half way through and neither should your website. This applies to both main text segments and the titling through the site.

Tip #2: Alignment

Centre Alignment has its place however it isn’t in a large portion of text. By centring text on a web page, you are forcing your viewers to re-adjust their eyes for every new line beginning. Think of other texts that you may read during your day, such as newspapers, and you will realise why left alignment is used on all of them.

Tip #3: Colour and Font Weight

As in tip #1, don’t experiment with colours and font weights throughout your pages. Sure colour can grab attention when required however try not to make your website look like a technicolour rainbow. Font weighting should be consistent too – use BOLD text in the same place each time, for example, on the subtitles within your content.

Tip #4: Image Presentation

If you insist on using borders and shadows around your images, make sure they are used consistently. Don’t apply styles to some and neglect it on others.

TinyMCE AdvancedTip #5: Use a Format tool

Luckily, for those of us who use WordPress as a CMS framework for our pages, we have some great plugins that will make the above tips really easy to implement.

The plugin TinyMCE Advanced has a formatting option. A dropdown menu (called FORMAT) can be quickly coded by your web developer to include all the styles that you need for your site. All you have to do is highlight or select the text/image for the style to be applied to and then select the style from the menu. You don’t need to search for font types, colours, weights or anything.

 

I have to admit that page inconsistency has happened on some sites that I have created – mostly after their handover. A warning: potential customers of Rusty Mango Design beware, I will ring you up and let you know if your styles are out of whack – nicely of course. I will also offer our full support to help you present your information in a consistent style. After all, it’s my job to help you look your best – a cohesive and constant appearance is vitally important to the overall success of your website.

If you would like the plugin TinyMCE Advanced installed and coded for your WordPress site, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design.

Tropical Coast Web Design