Think Your Website is an Auto-Pilot Solution? Think Again
The internet has completely changed many industries. Websites and online apps are the driving forces behind this and how they can improve efficiencies through automation. A common theme of modern technology is the idea that we can create systems that we then set and forget. This is an approach many businesses adopt for their website, focusing on how they can just keep it ticking along so they can gain free resources.
This passive approach could see you missing out and being left behind. Stop thinking of your website as a modern day yellow pages advert that provides a few extra bells and whistles. Start getting involved in the day-to-day running of your website, while striving to make it more involved in the running of your business.
Many small businesses are following a standard formula: build a website, invest in SEO, and then convert visitors into customers. It’s a straight forward approach that can generate fantastic results. However, it’s an approach that naturally leads to perceiving your site as a trusty generator, only paying attention when the lights inevitably begin to flicker or worse, go out completely.
A ‘customer first’ approach is the best place to start.
If everything is ticking along like clockwork, it can be hard to kick-start the imagination. A great place to start is to think about your customers. Focus on how your website could do more for them. Successful implementations that we’ve seen focus on convenience or exclusivity. You can start off simple too, like providing the ability to pay for your services on your website.
For example, say you run a dog walking business. You can provide facilities on your brochure site for customers to pay online or sign-up for a monthly subscription. Within the My Account area you could provide specialty pet care tips and other member only content. From here, you could integrate an online payment system with your accounting software. Now you have streamlined payments and made your service more convenient. But don’t stop there; you now have a regular visiting customer. Incorporate affiliate links to pet related products to add a new revenue stream.
This can sounds costly, but if you start to research you’ll find many free and open source tools such as WordPress and the thousands of available plugins that extend its functionality to provide a robust set of online tools for your business. Searching for plugins can help inspire more ideas. Here are some popular platforms and plugins to have a look through:
- WordPress: https://wordpress.org/plugins/
- Magento: http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/
- Joomla: http://extensions.joomla.org/
- Drupal: https://www.drupal.org/download
- CS Cart: http://marketplace.cs-cart.com/
- Open Cart: http://www.opencart.com/index.php?route=extension/extension
Don’t leave your site on auto-pilot.
Take an active approach to your website and change your mind set. You may stumble onto the next big idea or at the very least learn something new.
Written by Mark Nido — Project Manager at WME.