The tools we use to create websites have changed during my marketing career. In the beginning, you had to know a little about coding. Today’s services allow the non-coder to create a more than just good enough website.
Web Dev back in the Day
In the early 2000s, my employer had a small site designed by a professional. The designer handed off images to our team that one of the software developers turned into HTML. Our homepage was a cut-apart image, its pieces reassembled and held in an invisible table. Different parts of that image were hyperlinked to different pages on the site. I edited that website’s content by editing individual HTML pages in a text editor.
Just Good Enough Websites 2016
We have come a long way since then.
Services like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace offer simple ways for non-programmers and non-designers to have lovely and functional websites, beyond just good enough. If you subscribe to any podcasts, you’ll hear persistent ads for drag and drop website-making platforms.
I have opinions on platforms (this site is in WordPress and has been since 2006). Yet all these content management systems make things pretty easy for the non-technical user.
I still use my HTML and jump into the text pane of these platforms if the WYSIWYG editor refuses to format things as I want, but generally these platforms work just fine.
I’ve consulted on several homegrown websites created and operated by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Here’s how to make sure the website is good enough:
Content Optimization Tips
- Do keyword research, use the words that other people use often, and write to topics in demand that are relevant to your business
- Before you publish, use a tool to review your content for keyword optimization. On WordPress, Yoast SEO is my go-to, and its free version is very full-featured
Technical Optimization Tips
- Make sure you have a mobile-ready design or theme – assess your site’s mobile friendliness with the Google Mobile Friendly Test
- Submit your sitemap.xml and review any errors in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
- Bonus/Advanced Tip – Add relevant structured data, for example mark up your store/office addresses. You can use the Raven Tools site Schema-Creator.org or Raven’s Schema Creator plugin for WordPress
Cultivate your Connections
- Interconnect all of your business social profiles with your website. You should be able to move easily between all of your web properties. Make sure there’s a link from every social profile back to your website and be sure to link to all of your relevant, active profiles from your website.
- Add social sharing to your website. Yes, people can copy any link from your site and share to any of their chosen social sites. Yet, a visual prompt to Pin it, Share it, Tweet it, whatever it helps remind them and makes it easy. In WordPress, plugins like AddtoAny Share buttons automate social sharing.
Any basics I have missed? OR How can I answer your questions?