Want a Web Site You Can Update Yourself?

by Susan Murphy

When was the last time you updated your web site?

If you responded, “3 months ago”, “6 months ago”, “I don’t remember”, or “not in this decade”, continue reading.

Having a web site updated regularly with fresh, relevant, keyword-rich content is one of the best ways to not only keep your customers and prospects interested in you, but it’s also one of the main ways that Google ranks your site in search engines. It places higher emphasis on newer content that contains relevant keywords. So, if you haven’t updated your web site in weeks, months, or (gasp) years, then it may be time to consider a refresh.

One of the biggest issues the team here at Jester comes across is that people are either unsure of how to update their existing web site, or they need to have someone else do it for them (which often takes time and can cost money). So, web sites go untouched and eventually become neglected altogether.

There was a time when, to update a web site, one needed to have expertise in HTML coding, FTP file transfer, and graphic design. Updating a site sometimes meant having specialized software too – tools like Adobe Dreamweaver that costs hundreds of dollars and required training and practice made the process of updating daunting and time consuming for many business owners. Of course, some people hire a “webmaster” – someone who knows the coding and the tools and can update the site – but these people often charge tens or even hundreds of dollars every time a change is needed. Working with a “webmaster” also means that you can’t change things on your site quickly – sometimes it takes days or even weeks to get a new update into the site.

Times have changed!

In the past several years, new tools and technologies have come onto the market that allow anyone with an Internet connection and basic word processing skills to be able to update and maintain their own web site at the click of a button. No longer do you need specialized, expensive software, and the process of updating the content on your site, or adding new content can be done from anywhere, on any connected device (yes, you can update your web site from your smart phone too!)

How is this possible?

Web-based tools called Content Management Systems allow you to log into your web site, and create or modify text content, as well as upload images, video, and audio files. You don’t need to know HTML and you don’t need to be an expert at a tool like Dreamweaver either. You also no longer need to pay a “webmaster” who will take three weeks to change a sentence on your site or post a new page. You can do it yourself, and you can do it fast.

So, what should I pay for?

While it is certainly possible to start a new web site yourself from scratch, using a free Content Management System like WordPress, I recommend calling in the pros for certain steps in the process.

First, you want a nice, clean, simple and modern design. That’s something that a professional web designer definitely help with. They can help you determine the goals and purpose of your web site, and figure out the best way to communicate with your target audience. The designer can create a great template for you that will work well in all the different types of web browsers (including mobile devices), and will ensure that the site is coded properly and that your web server and software is secure from hackers. It’s money well spent in order to get a quality web site presence AND peace of mind.

Second, you may also want to consider having a web content specialist review your existing web content, and help you write your new content too. A content specialist will know how to create web content that is concise and keyword rich. They know the techniques to use to ensure that your web site is optimized for search engines (also called “SEO”). Note that SEO should always be part of the package when you hire a content specialist – if they try to convince you that SEO is an add-on feature that will cost more, run the other way!

Third, you may wish to pay to have someone teach you the basics of  updating your site, so you can be comfortable with the updating process. There are lots of great tutorial videos online too (check out this one Team Jester’s Tony Gamble created), but sometimes it can be good to have a training session with someone who knows the tool inside and out and can address your specific needs.

Finally, I recommend paying someone to do regular maintenance on your site – this can be anything from server backups, to renewing domain names, to updating plug-ins and software in WordPress to ensure your site keeps running smoothly. But the content? The content is all yours, to edit, change, add, and update as you see fit!

Life changes when you have control.

Being able to update your web site when you want, how you want, quickly and easily, from anywhere gives you control of your content. There are no complex tools required, and no complicated coding needed. It’s a brave new world out there, one where you can take back control of your web presence and make it something truly amazing and effective for your business.

Want to know more? Give us a shout, we can help.

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