Is Your Website Frozen in Time?

I’m an avid golfer and I’m fortunate to live in a place where I have access to great golf courses all year-round. However, during the colder winter months there is always a possibility of frost delays in the morning. Courses don’t usually let you play when there is frost on the ground because it’s bad for the turf when people are walking all over the frozen grass. It’s usually a minor setback and a small price to pay in order to be able to play golf in the winter.

When your website is frozen in time, however, it can be a major setback. You could be losing out on a lot of SEO potential without fresh content. Potential customers might be turned away by a dated site. Basically, you are missing out on great business opportunities if you let your website become stagnant.

I recently went through this experience myself. I write my own golf and travel blog and it had gotten seriously out-of-date. I originally built it on Tumblr because it was free and easy to use. I wasn’t intending for the site to grow as much as it did. Unfortunately, over time the Tumblr platform just couldn’t handle the amount of content, links and photos that I was posting. I eventually had to make a change.

It took a lot of work in my spare time to rebuild a new site on WordPress. I had to transfer all the old content over and rebuild each link one by one, in addition to updating the overall look and navigation presentation of the site itself. It was well worth the effort, though. I’ve already noticed a big spike in visitor activity and more social interaction because of the new site. I refused to let my website become frozen in time and it paid off.

Here are some tips to help you from letting your business website get outdated and ineffective:

1. Refresh Every Year

You don’t have to rebuild your site from scratch every year, but make it a point to go through it at least once a year. Update content, check all the links, remove outdated information, add any new relevant information and update graphics or imagery as needed to refresh the site as much as possible. If your site is old, it may be time to consider redoing it. If the platform is not mobile-friendly, it is definitely time to build a new site.

2. Add New Content Whenever Possible

If you have a blog, use it. Make sure you are posting new articles regularly and keep fresh content coming in. You will benefit greatly from the natural SEO boost that comes when you add content regularly to your site. If you don’t have a blog, add a blog page to your site and dedicate the resources needed to manage it. In fact, you can hire NextGear Marketing to run your blog. Our services are affordable and will take the stress of running a weekly blog out of your hands. By the way, if your web provider’s platform does not have a built-in blogging capabilities, that’s another sign you are probably due for a new website.

3. Focus on Search Engine Optimization

Older websites just aren’t optimized the way newer websites are. Even if you do no additional SEO beyond what’s already built-in, you will see an automatic boost in SEO by creating a new site on a modern hosting platform. However, you should never settle for the bare minimum. SEO should be a major priority. Whether you are building a new site or updating your current site, a thorough SEO review and strategic optimization should be top priorities.

4. Social Media Integration

The more your website is integrated with your social media pages, the better it will perform. Your site and your social media response will both benefit when they are working in harmony.

These are just a few of the ways to update your website and optimize it for better performance. Consumers are more savvy than ever and the technology continues to evolve daily. If you are not keeping up with the times, you are missing out on major business opportunities.

For a complimentary website content review or to discuss blog management services, contact NextGear Marketing today.

How and Why You Should Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Nobody ever wants to see a negative review about their business online. It’s frustrating and a little bit depressing when someone posts a bad comment that anyone can see. Unfortunately, you can’t completely control what is posted about your business on social media or on review sites like Yelp or Google.

Always Make a Response

A lot of business owners/managers are really good about posting responses when the site allows for it. However, they tend to only respond to positive reviews (“Thank you. We appreciate your business. Yada, yada, yada.”) and they try to ignore any negative comments or low ratings. This is a mistake. You want to react to these negative reviews head-on, but with a strategic, tactful approach. In many cases, you can turn a negative review into a positive impression. This is what online reputation management is all about.

Dealing with False Reviewers

Obviously, there are different types of negative reviews and some are truly frustrating as a business owner. First, it could be a spammer looking to cause trouble. Second, it could be a petty competitor trying to bring you down. You can’t necessarily prevent these “false” reviews from happening, but you can post responses that essentially call out the poster without being defensive about it.

Here’s an example. Someone who clearly wasn’t a customer posts a nasty review about your business. Post a response that offers a brief apology, but then ask questions of the reviewer. Subtly try to point out that they aren’t actually a customer of yours or try to request more specific details about what they bought, when they bought it, etc. They usually won’t respond when you call them out, or if they do persist you can eventually catch them in a lie after some back-and-forth comments. Either way, anybody else who is reading the responses will clearly figure out that this reviewer is not to be trusted.

Dealing with Legitimate Negative Reviewers

In the cases where the reviewer is legitimate and actually had a bad experience with your business, you’ll still want to respond. However, you have to be even more tactful. There’s no shame in offering a simple apology and making an effort to try and rectify the situation. You may never get this customer back, but others will see that you care and you are trying to make it right. This can actually go a long way. If you ignore a bad review, then that’s all the other reader will see and the negative review will resonate stronger in their mind.

Always be pushing your online reputation. Make thoughtful responses to any negative reviews and encourage all customers to write reviews as much as possible. Odds are the positive reviews will far outweigh the negatives. Even if you do have a few nasty comments about your business, you can drown them out over time with positive reviews and high ratings. If you have nine good reviews compared to every one bad review, people are going to form a positive overall impression.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing’s online content packages that include Monthly Online Reputation Reports, contact me today.

Are You Reactive or Proactive When it Comes to Your Marketing?

How many times does this happen? A seemingly minor issue comes up at work or in home life and you just don’t want to deal with it right away. You put it off to the side and before long, it festers into a much bigger problem than it would have been if you just addressed it head-on at the beginning. We’ve all been there!

Marketing is one area of business where it rarely pays to be a procrastinator. If all your marketing moves are reactive rather than proactive, you simply won’t be as successful as you could be.

Don’t Be Reactive

By reactive, I mean waiting for marketing opportunities to come to you or acting later than you should to execute a certain strategy. An example of that may be watching a competitor being really successful with a specific marketing effort. Maybe it’s a blog, social media campaign, print advertisement, billboard or whatever. You see what they do and then try to copy it. You showed up to the party late and you brought the same dip that someone else brought hours ago. That approach won’t get you as far as you want.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should ignore what your competitors are doing and not implement effective strategies. Look for ways to build on an idea or improve upon the approach. Make it yours and do whatever you can to make it as successful as it can be, not just a copycat plan.

There are times when you do need to be reactive. You may be late to the party, but what can you bring that will allow you to stand apart from the crowd?

Be Proactive

Otherwise, it always pays to take a proactive approach to marketing. Seek out opportunities to get your business name and brand out there in the marketplace. Stay on top of technology, social media and other advertising avenues and make an effort to stay ahead of your competition. When you find more efficient and effective methods of reaching your target audience with strong marketing messages, you will see a major difference.

Being proactive is a mindset that you must have as an entrepreneur. Think ahead and act accordingly. Take steps to forge your own success instead of waiting and hoping that good things will come your way.

NextGear Marketing would like to help you with your marketing approach. Contact us today for a no-obligation small business marketing review and consultation.