Websites for business

If your website was created eight months ago it is unlikely to be effective: because Google has deemed it to be out of date.

By autumn last year, Google’s Real Time Web Search had started to deliver results based upon timeliness and relevance. Which means that, if you do not update content frequently, your visibility to search engines will suffer.

Why is this an issue?

The fact is companies spend thousands on designing, building and populating their websites with compelling (search engine friendly) content. Building these sites takes time, plenty of late night discussions and heaps of intellectual, psychological and emotional energy. Renewing or replacing your website isn’t something most companies want to repeat on a regular basis. However, the trend is for search to take more notice of the latest events and information posted on social media and news sites.

And most company websites are just not (and arguably should not be) built for this kind of activity. The company website, the foundation of your web-presence and embodiment of your brand will simply slide from view. And slide very quickly.

So, if your company website is part of your marketing activity you need to think seriously about how you are going to compete for prominence.

Playing by the new rules

Google, Yahoo, Ask et al. have changed the rules: they are looking for recent, fresh information and they are looking for it in places traditional company websites do not inhabit. This does not mean you have to throw away your carefully crafted and expensive website: far from it. But it does mean you are going to have to stretch your presence across the web.

Social Media may have started out as a teenagers’ playground: a place to swap music, post video and hang out. It has rapidly evolved into a powerful business medium. LinkedIn membership exceeded 50 million professionals last October and it has been adding a million members every 12 days since. A political campaign without a social media element has, within the last eighteen months, become unthinkable.

The message is simple: a traditional company website is no longer enough. To build reputation and presence your organisation needs to compete in the social media space.

Getting it right

This is not about opening a ‘Twitter’ account and telling the world what you had for breakfast. It is about sharing useful information with your supporters, customers and potential customers. The 140-character limit of a ‘Twitter’ post is unlikely to carry that kind of information.

Companies need to develop a network of assets that have the flexibility to be updated regularly and be intrinsically linked to the ‘social web’. A good place to start is with a Blog. But care has to be taken. Many blogs exist in obscure and crowded spaces. Companies that start blogging on a shared ‘blogging’ provider find it difficult to get visited or read. Executives become disheartened when carefully drafted articles attract no interest. And the activity is retired early as an interesting experiment but ‘of limited use.’

To be effective, your blog needs its own place on the web (a distinct web address), active management (a designated editor in chief who ensures quality articles are published regularly) and co-ordinated campaigning (email, PR, social postings) to ensure all your hard work does not languish in obscurity.

The rewards can be great: after six months activity small IT support company in Cambridgeshire started to win significant volumes of new business.

Next week we will look at developing strategies for the new competitive environment.

2 Responses to “Websites for business”

  • Biggles Dunlop:

    The problem with search is that it is an always moving target. Yes, we need to get our social strategy in place and working. But where are we going to have to focus our attention next?

  • I’m glad that i found your website, there are a couple of cool articles

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