It’s not enough that people come to your website. You need them to come BACK to your website. And they’re only going to do that so many times unless there’s something new to see when they get there.
It’s important to have a good looking website with great content. It’s far more important to have content that changes on a regular basis. I’ve talked about the value of an RSS feed, and hooking people as subscribers of your content.
But even for the occasional visitor, it’s far more compelling to be met with a bunch of stuff that constitutes new information. It might even prompt them to pop back from time to time… perhaps with their credit cards.
Just as there’s nothing that says ‘active, happening and vibrant’ like a website that seems to have updates every day — there’s nothing as despondent and neglected as an abandoned-looking website or a disused forum. Here are some hints to keep you fresh and up to date.
1. Use a Content Management System
Is your website hard to amend? Do you have to go through your web designer every time you need to change something or add a concert date?
These days, there are great CMS packages that can either be integrated into your existing site or (let’s face it, it’s getting on a bit now) replace your current site all together. A CMS will let you update your own website easily — with no tech skill required — at the drop of a hat. Day or night. It’ll even do all the layout and design stuff for you. Easier than sending email.
Some content management systems are even free. I use WordPress for this site — and I can thoroughly recommend it. Joomla‘s very good too — especially if you need more bells and whistles (I didn’t).
Tell your web developer, if you have one, that you want a Content Management System. Insist on it. Tell them you know that you can get one for free if the need arises.
2. Preplan things to talk about
Don’t just post when you think you have something to say. Plan the things you’re going to talk about in advance. Depends on what you do, of course, but how about having posts up your sleeve on ‘why I like this brand of guitar strings’ or ‘something you may not know about the artists on our label’ or ‘an interview with the work experience kid who puts your CDs in the envelope’.
3. Drag in content from elsewhere
It’s not a sin to republish content, as long as it’s properly accredited.
Naturally, as an academic, I would encourage you to contextualise, explain and comment on the wise words of others you bring into your site, rather than simply cut and paste — but honestly, the bulk of the hard work can be done (at least some of the time) by other people who are talking about issues from your sector of the industry.
Don’t tell anyone I said that.
4. Talk about current stuff
Draw from current events and relate them to what you do. As with dragging in content from elsewhere, you should add a bit of value for your customers, but springboard off the work of others.
5. Capture everything and post it online
Play a gig? Do a promotion? Send out a press release? Sell your thousandth unit? Find an interesting pebble? Take a photo, write a paragraph and put it on the internet. Everything you do — not just putting out an EP or playing a concert.
There is something magical about frequency. It makes you look professional, busy and popular. If you publish something that says ‘Hooray — our album has been lauched!’ and then that message is still there a year later, people will rightly assume that nothing happened, and that the nothing that happened was something you deserved.
People want to spend time and money with something that’s happening now. Not something they’ve missed, and wasn’t good enough to keep on going.
Because more than anything else, economic engagement is the result of perception management.