I think a lot of people might have the same problem I do; they might know that they need to update their site frequently, post something on Facebook, tweet, whatever but they just don’t have the time to “get to it”. There’s a client waiting on the line, orders that need to be handled, bills…it goes on and on doesn’t it? Plus, I work at home. Specifically, I work at home with an active elementary school-aged daughter from 2:30 until whatever hour she finally runs out of energy (hint, it’s scandalously late). Pretty soon, it’s after 10 and just before your head hits the pillow, it’s “I should really put that new product up on the site.” zzzzzz…
About 5 years ago, I asked a fellow designer for advice about the growing demand from clients to have sites that they could update on their own. He suggested WordPress and while that has been an enormous help (heck, it’s about 90% of my business), as the years pass I have come to realize that the vast majority of businesses that rely on WordPress to keep their site updated…don’t.
“I just don’t have the time.”
“-and time is money.”, you think, calculating the anticipated hours and hours and multiplying it by the bottom line. However, think instead about the potential new business you could be bringing in by nature of having a website that folks want to visit. Remember newspapers? Every day you would buy one because it contained all new content, organized into the same predictable layout, so you could always get updated quickly. (of course, if one actually wanted to retain all that content, they would probably end up on an episode of Hoarders.
3 Tips to make time for your site:
1. Find that weird little “do-nothing” window in your day and do it then. For me it’s actually in the space between dropping off my daughter at school and 9am which is when the business world kicks in. I have about 45 minutes to drink coffee and bop around the interwebs looking for content that I think my clients/twitter followers/facebook fans might find useful. Sometimes, all it takes is one good link to get some nice interaction going.
2. Find a portable device that will let you access your site’s dashboard. For me, it’s my iPhone. I have a few apps such as Tweetdeck, Linked In and Google+ to make use of whenever I have a free minute. WordPress actually has an app for working with your site that is pretty useful. You could be monitoring your site’s comments while you’re at the playground! (Please keep an eye on the kids too!)
3. Keep an actual pad of paper and pen handy. Or, the notes app on your portable device. I opened Notes one night and typed out about seven ideas for posts on this site. I will get to them eventually, and when I open up the dashboard and look at the blank “New Post” screen, I have some ideas handy.
It’s too hard to keep up with everything!
At the risk of sounding like this guy I’ve got to say “No it isn’t!”. The first time I was faced with installing WordPress onto a server and creating a site it seemed incredibly complicated and difficult. Now I can get that done in about 15 minutes. Like any task, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.
User interfaces do change. I will admit it’s a little daunting when Facebook changes their profile/timeline design YET AGAIN, but after a few years of working with clients who want to set up Facebook pages, I have realized that someone who goes on Facebook frequently (at the very least a few times a week) has a much easier time taking changes or new tasks in stride versus a client that only checks Facebook about once a month.
There’s always that latest social networking site your friends are all fired up about, but don’t feel like you have to jump onto every bandwagon that rolls through town. Research a little to see if it’s something truly useful to your business. If your business is something very visual, Pinterest might be just the thing. If you deal with high-end machine manufacturing, maybe Linked In is a better fit.
So, rather than the scattershot approach of only dealing with updates when you feel up to the challenge, why not simply delegate and delineate like you do with any other aspect of running your business? Start with an update to your business site’s blog. Then, post a link on your Twitter feed. If you have your Twitter feed connected to your Facebook account, voila! Three birds with one stone!
Is this thing on?
Say you follow the previous two pieces of advice for a week. Posting, linking tweeting….nothing. No one seems to be responding. Don’t worry, it happens, but the simple beauty of social media is that it makes adaptation to change very easy. If you are not getting the interaction level you want, step back and survey your audience. Maybe it’s simply the time of day you are posting. That 3pm-5pm window can be an audience killer if your audience is mostly business people. That’s when everyone is in a crunch to get their work done because they spent too much time on Facebook that morning…HEY! Why not post in the morning next week and see if your reach picks up?
Another quick thing you can do to increase your online presence, engage your audience. Got a new like on the FB page? Send that person a quick “Thanks for liking us [name of person]!”. Tweet back to people who reach out on Twitter or who mention you or your business area in their tweets. Likewise, if someone comments on your blog, comment back.
Once you find a schedule that works, stick to it as much as you can.
I’ve found that a lot of people are active on Facebook in 1: the early morning 2: early afternoon post-lunch and 3: late evening. So, what I’ve planned is a loose schedule like so:
Morning Coffee: “Here’s a great link that I found that could help make your day more productive. Read it while you drink your coffee.”
Afternoon Cheese Plate*: Weird, cheesy, fun, twisted crazy things I find on the web.
Happy Hour: Maybe a tale from my day, tragedy or triumph, a link to something great a friend of mine is doing, cool picture I took whilst walking the dog, anything goes-it’s Happy Hour!
*On a film set, one of the signs of excellent craft service is the daily appearance of a cheese tray a short while after lunch.