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It goes without saying that having a digital presence is a key component to achieving success but while the need for having a website is understood, what often goes unnoticed is the importance of regularly updating your website.
Sites like Amazon wouldn't be where they are if their homepage looked exactly the same every time you opened it, and yet that is the case for many brands of all sizes. Our CEO Stay Jones had the chance to sit down and talk with an expert about how to best manage your business web site in order to increase your market position, bolster revenue, and strengthen your brand. In this blog, Hollywood Branded takes a look at how you can optimize your website for success from the experience and expertise of WebStore Ltd's Greg Jameson.
Greg Jameson is the president of WebStores Limited with over 30 years of experience in working in digital marketing. Greg has been at the forefront of digital commerce since the start of web development and e-commerce mastery, and Greg made massive impact helping bring the technical leadership and communication skills to large organizations like Chase Paymentech, Pall Aerospace, and Los Alamos Labs.
As the number-one bestselling author of The Influencer Effect, Amazon's Dirty Little Secrets, What Would Jeff Do?, Grow Your Online Sales, and a host of other books, Greg's a sought-after consultant and speaker whose goal is to make your business successful online. He's been awarded International Developer of the Year, Colorado Small Business of the Year, and listed on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America.
Question: Can you tell all of our listeners today a little bit about your background, where you were, what got you to what you're doing today?
Answer: Sure, I'll try to encapsulate a lifetime of experience into just a few minutes here. It really all began back when I was in high school, and I had a really rare opportunity in that my dad worked for Colorado State University. He was a research professor, and he had a research project where he actually brought home a portable teletype machine to do some work on.
And this was before the age of PCs, so in my house, I had a portable teletype machine, and I actually had access to an account on the county computer, which was a DEC mainframe, a PDP-10. So I was doing computer programming stuff a decade before anybody else had a computer in their house, which kind of gave me an edge up on a lot of stuff. So I've been a geek my entire life.
And technology has always been fun. For many of us, including me, it can be incredibly frustrating at times, and we don't necessarily understand things. Like you and I were talking offline here about getting a podcast up on Alexa and trying to figure out how to do Alexa skills and so forth. And it seems like there's always one more thing that you have to learn and it's not gonna slow down obviously.
It's gonna keep getting worse. But there's always something else that we have to do, and because of that and the technology always being kind of right on the bleeding edge, things break. Even things that have been around for a long time break.
And certainly when it comes to web sites, which we're gonna talk about today, web sites break all the time. And there's a lot of reasons for it. Someone will change the database. Someone will change a browser. Someone ... Google will go out there and all of a sudden say, "I'm not gonna show your site unless you have an SSL certificate on it."
It's kind of one thing after another, and if you're utilizing a content management system like WordPress, well WordPress has updates all the time. All the plug-ins that go with it have updates all the time. And all of these things may very well conflict with each other, and as a result, things break and you're at the mercy of someone it seems like all the time to get things back up and running smoothly.
Question: So what are some of the common mistakes you have seen with web sites, besides obviously not updating plug-ins, APIs, things along those lines, that our listeners should really be hyper-diligent about and aware of?
Answer: Well I think that the big thing that I see, and this is not a technology thing at all. This is simply a business thing. And that is updating your content. I always like to kinda compare it to Facebook and I ask people the question, "If you went to Facebook today, and you saw a certain set of posts, and then you went back tomorrow and you saw the same set of posts, and you went back a week from now and you saw the same set of posts. And then a month from now, and you still saw the same posts. How often would you go back to Facebook?" Probably not very often, because it's the same stuff over and over again.
And then I ask the question, "What makes you think your web site's any different?" And that's usually when the light bulb goes on. It's like, "Oh, so someone's coming to my web site maybe one time, never to return because I haven't updated anything in months." And like I said, that's a business thing. That's not a technology thing. You have to get in the habit, if you're gonna have a web site, of actually running your web site and putting new stuff out there so that there's a reason for people to come back to your web site over and over again.
Question: And when you say new content and new things on your web site, are we talking here about meaning, okay, new blogs, or new e-newsletters or new downloadable e-books or things along those lines, or are you talking about actually home pages content changes and other things that are really part of the aesthetic of your web site?
Answer: All of the above. The aesthetics of the web site, quite honestly, and certainly the layout of the web site, that's not something that does need to change all the time. In fact, sometimes people get frustrated with a site like Facebook if they're constantly changing. "Where'd they move this button to?" I know even if you're trying to use a word processing program like Microsoft Word and they come out with an update, and all of a sudden, one thing that we're used to finding it is now in a completely different place. That just annoys people. That's not improving the user interface at all. That's just somebody that got paid so they made a modification to whatever it is you're using.
But certainly new imagery on your home page, if you're running an e-commerce web site, maybe be promoting new products on the home page. Take a look at Amazon. Every time you go to Amazon, it's different. And not only is it different, but it's targeted specifically towards you. Here's some products related to other things that you looked at when you came here last time. Every major web site out there is constantly putting out new content. Might be a news web site, it might be YouTube, it might be the social media sites where other people are creating content for you, which we can talk about as a way of getting content generated is having other people do it. Much like an influencer would do. But yeah, as a business owner, you have to take responsibility for that and update things on a regular basis, or no one's gonna come back.
Question: Great. And so what's the best thing to focus on? What would you suggest to someone as their first steps of focusing on updating content? Where should they dig in?
Answer: As I've gotten this bee in my bonnet here about this whole changing your content thing lately, I've actually been putting together a series of online courses to address some of that. And some of the things that you mentioned are things that people should definitely be doing. The lead magnet that you're offering, whether it be a free e-book or a free course, a free white paper, a coupon for something, access to a video, whatever your lead magnet is, that is one of the things that you need to change regularly. If somebody comes and they've already downloaded your e-book, there's no reason for them to come back next month to download the same e-book. Give them another reason to come back to your web site. And then, because they've already downloaded your e-book, you've got their e-mail address at that point, you send out an e-mail and say, "Hey, we've got a new freebie on our web site where I've got this 10 minute video describing x," then that gives them a reason to go back to your web site.
So certainly the lead magnets. You mentioned blog posts. I think that it is really important, regardless of what business you're in, that your blog posts appear on your home page. Not solely your blog posts on your home page, like WordPress likes to have the default be just your blog, but to have in addition to all of the other stuff that you have on your home page, show your latest blog posts so that every time somebody comes to your web site, there's new material on your home page.
Certainly, as I said, if you have an e-commerce web site, stuff you're promoting on your home page should change. I actually do have one client that is really good at doing this, and they change their home page about once a month I guess. But it depends upon the season. So right now, their home page has stuff on there all about Valentine's Day. Or ... Well, they did have. I guess that was a week or two ago now. I haven't looked at their web site recently. It's probably St. Patrick's Day or something, but they're changing stuff all the time on their home page to reflect the time of the year.
To hear more about website management and the impact it can have on your brand's success, check out the rest of the interview on our Marketing Mistakes Podcast.
What to further your knowledge about best marketing practices for digital marketing? We've written plenty of other blog posts on the topics as well for you to check out!
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Topics: Digital Marketing, Podcast Interviews, HB Podcast