“The economic landscape has changed dramatically,” is a bit of an understatement. With millions of people flocking online, many businesses are having to face the consequences of putting off updating their digital presence. While it’s much easier (and, truthfully, necessary) to perform ongoing updates, we’re here to assist anyone in need of a serious overhaul to get you started.
How to Update Your Digital Presence
A website is your digital storefront. You knew that, so you know that it’s the most important face of your digital presence. Some people might say your social media - which we’ll touch on later - is more important because that’s where you engage with your customers on the regular. All that engagement is supposed to drive people to your site, though. So, who's really right?
The first thing you want to look at is how your site functions. Are there any broken links that need fixing? Do your scheduling or ecommerce features work like they should? With more people conducting their business online than ever, a busted website will have folks turning on their digital heels. Use site crawlers and website analytics to find what may be broken, but also what may need higher prominence on your site.
Now that you know everything is in working order, look at your content. Your site exists to give people information about your company and your industry as a whole. You want to make sure it tells a story and has appropriate calls-to-action to help engage your site visitors.
First, is your content useful? Don’t be a narcissist that assumes people will come just because it’s your website; give your audience a reason. Adding value to your customer’s lives will keep them coming back. Teach them about your industry, their curiosity or passion. Expand your content for a holistic picture your site visitors deserve.
Second, look at your site’s readability. Don’t try to sound impressive by throwing around industry jargon. Your audience is there to get information so make it easy for them to get. Look at the reading level to make sure it’s easy to comprehend. Break large text up with subheadings, bullet points or numbered lists, and don’t forget multimedia elements to engage your reader. This makes your content skimmable and comprehensive.
Lastly, no one is above checking for basic spelling or grammar errors. Leaving these “minor” issues for a later time communicates a lack of caring or follow through on your part - not a good look for attracting customers. And, guess what? It’s later now.
Your instinct might be to update your visuals first. They’re the first thing your site visitor’s notice, but poor site function and lack of information is what will ultimately drive them away. That’s why we had you start with that instead. Now, you can move on to the more fun part: making your site look awesome.
When it comes to website visuals, you need to start with your hero area. This is the absolute first thing your visitors see, so make it impressive. Make a statement about your business, and couple it with powerful imagery.
Then, you want consistency across all your website pages. Make sure you use the same fonts and colors across your site. Each page doesn’t have to be identical. However, if you start to stray from your pattern, you could end up confusing your site visitors. “Wait, where am I? Am I still on that incredibly useful website?” they may think.
Lastly, you want to make sure your site looks good. Literally. Check your media - graphics, photos, and videos - and make sure their display quality won’t reflect unfavorable opinions on your business. Also, is your font even legible in that color? You just made sure your website content is flawless, but nobody's going to be able to read it if your background is black and your font is charcoal.
When you sit back and look at your site, you want to think, “Dang, that looks good.”
Your Social Media Profiles
You may have heard people compare your website to your business card. Those people are wrong. Think about it: it’s your social media that facilitates connections. So, while it’s not as important as your website, your social media profiles should be treated with the same amount of dignity. You don’t have to tackle your social media strategy right now. Let’s start with something simple: your profiles. When’s the last time you updated your profile picture or your about section?
Social media profiles are standardized across users, so there’s limited space to stand out. Like you did with your website visuals, look over your cover photos and profile pictures and make sure they reflect your quality. You may Tweet something intelligent, but if your profile looks sketchy due to poor image quality, you won’t have a lot of inherent trust. Also, don’t fall into thinking, “Well, we don’t use this account much anyways, so it doesn’t need to be updated.” If you’re not actively using the account, then your profile visuals are twice as important because they’re doing the speaking for you when you’re not around. What are they saying?
Second to your profile visuals is what you convey about yourself through your bio. Literally and figuratively. Your bio is your pitch: this is who I am and why you should follow me. Maybe writing it that bluntly fits your company. That is, make sure it’s accurate above all else, but it won’t hurt to add a dash of personality in most industries. Also, for the love of Google, don’t forget to include a working link to your website.
Lastly, in our clean up of digital spaces, we’re taking a look at email marketing. This is as unique as your business, but the questions you have to ask yourself are generally the same across industries: Do your emails look attractive? Do they capture the tone you want? Are they engaging? Do they have links to your socials, website, and any other brand elements you want to feature? Do they make YOU want to engage with your business? Your email list is your direct digital connection to consumers - make it good!
Your website is an invaluable resource, now more than ever, so it's worth the time, effort, and money to invest in it. Make sure your social media is as professional as your business card, and don’t neglect updating your email marketing design and strategy. It might seem like we’ve tasked you with a lot, but we promise it’s necessary - and easy once you get the ball rolling.
By Jordan Latham
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We hope everyone stays safe during this crisis. We are happy to offer consultations to review your digital brand and suggest solutions at no-charge to you during this time. Our goal is to see all businesses thrive, and we especially would like to help those that are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can contact us here or call 703 378-0000.