Website model evolves for small business | Houston, The Woodlands, Conroe

Website model evolves for small business

By February 15, 2010Web Design

by Mike Hallaron

The inevitable impact of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Slide Share, and You Tube, has changed the way business must view their web presence. Combined with a blog, business now has a wealth of tools at its disposal. Marketing your website and brand across the Web has never been easier or more crucial. Particularly small business must take advantage of the robust new social model to be competitive and make the most ROI from Internet marketing.

The oldest pre-2000 model relied on a static company website that rarely underwent any changes or updates. Potential customers clicked on a link or found your site using a search engine.

So-called Web 2.0 brought about an influx of web applications and database-driven content management systems. Blogging also rose to prominence in the business world as a means of communicating with customers. These tools allowed business to maintain key features of their website without reliance on a web designer to manually code changes and add periodic fresh content.

Now the third ingredient is in place to complete the recipe for online success. Social Media gives business a low cost method of widely expanded reach and direct two-way communication with new prospects and customers. It’s not what you say — It’s what others say about you.

The ideal model in 2010 is to convert your old static, one-way brochure-style website into a hub for all of your company’s other web activities. Your website is still a promotional repository of your product and service information and examples of your work. However, closely connected to your website is your blog — the face or personality of your company where you generate unique, insightful, resourceful articles and shorter blog entries to communicate with customers. They can comment on what you write and begin a real conversation about your business and what you do best.

Other allies, customers and interested people follow your blog using email or RSS (really simple syndication) to get your blog content delivered to them directly. They no longer need to revisit your website to see what’s new.

In addition to the company blog, your Facebook business page, Twitter page and other social media accounts spread your original blog content, collecting more fans and followers who find value in your expertise and industry acumen. Your network grows with your website as the hub. Others repost your content and link to your site and your reach swells. Google and other search engine rankings rise to the all-important first page location. Your prospects and customers increase with your network.

This new business model for marketing success online does require a great deal of diligence and hard work. So what else is new? You have come this far. Now it is time to take what technology is giving you and separate yourself from your competitors. Don’t get left behind. Just having an old static website and waiting for the world to come to you won’t cut it anymore. That model is dead. RIP.