“My Website is Up and Live…Now What?”

I get this question a lot. My reply usually begins with, “What were your hopes for your new website?” Often, people say things like generate leads for their business, or in the case of blogs, some want to reach a particular audience and increase traffic. Whatever individual goals may be, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

Continually add content to your website.

I’ve worked with people that have put up their websites only to leave the site alone for years. Even if it’s just a brochure site, printed brochures need to be updated. Think of it this way, if you want others to use your site, you need to use it as well.

Also, content that isn’t changed, isn’t crawled by search engines as often. Search engines like new content and pages that change. The same goes for website visitors; I frequent sites that post new articles or information. If you want your website or blog to work for you, you need to add content regularly.

Here are some things to keep in mind when adding content to your website:

Be informative. Make sure your content will provide value to your site visitors. Consider your primary audience and create content that will help them become more efficient, knowledgeable or get more out of life. It’s okay to keep it light once in a while. The main thing is to be connected with website visitors. Check your site stats or analytics to see what articles are getting traffic, encourage conversations or comments in posts and see which articles are being shared on social media.

Be authentic. Write in a way that reflects the character and values of  you or your business. Articles should be in your voice. Don’t be someone you’re not. This website reflects not only my interests, but also sometimes, the lighter side and my quirky sense of humor

Be timely. Update your site regularly. I try to add content to my site weekdays as my schedule and workloads permit. If I have an abundance of time, I write a bunch of articles and schedule them to post so I can maintain regular updates.

A really good article with a content checklist can be found on A List Apart.

Now for some technical hints…

Make reading easy for visitors by allowing white space. Reading on a computer can be tough. To help with this, text should be broken up into smaller paragraphs. When you can, break up text with bulleted lists, block quotes, and images.

Use headings. Heading tags such as <h1>, <h2>, etcetera, help search engines (and site visitors) to know what information is important.  The lower the number of the heading tag, the more important the content. For example in this post, my article title is an <h1> tag and then I use other headings as <h2> in the text to highlight important sections. In blogs and content management systems with text editors, there’s usually a drop-down list for formatting types including headings.

When using hyperlinks, be sure to open external links (or links that go outside of your site) in  a new browser tab or window. This will help keep your visitors on your site even when they’re checking out additional external links and resources that you’ve provided.

Be sure to include alternative text for any images that you upload or include on your pages. If an image, graphic or diagram is a critical part of your content, be sure that you have some text contained in the alternative text or, <alt> tags, to explain the graphics  just in case the image doesn’t load. This is also a good practice for the visually impaired. Blogs or content management systems make it easy to upload images and usually provide “Alternative Text” fields during the upload process. Use them.

If you have any questions, or would like more information on some specifics, just leave a comment. Thanks so much.

(Image by Jef Bettens and can be found here.)