A few years ago, things were relatively simple for the average small business looking to take its business online. You could use a site builder or web template to create a simple static website with 5 to 10 pages and you had a web presence.
Not so today in the world of Web 2.0. It’s no longer enough to put up a simple, static website. A static website is one where you do all the talking. You tell site visitors all about your company, your staff, its products and services and how to contact you in just a few pages.
Today, interactivity is an important feature.
Companies are creating blogs, forums and other interactive vehicles that let consumers talk back. Managing your website also means updating your profile on Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn and other social media. So it’s a lot more complicated to create a web presence today.
Whether you build a website using a standard html site building tool or use a blog platform, be sure you plan a way to get your site visitors involved in the conversation. Static websites – one way conversations with the public where consumers have little or no input – are so yesterday.
The social media revolution demands that you include some sort of interactivity in your small business web presence. With that in mind, what is the best way to do it?
How do you make your website interactive?
The easy answer is to add a blog to your website. But adding a blog is a good option only if you plan to post on a regular basis. Blogs need to be updated frequently as my visitors often remind me.
You can assign the responsibility for blogging to several people within your company, hire a writer to blog about topics related to your company and its products or encourage guest bloggers.
Another option is to add a forum to your website if you have a large following of people looking for a place to communicate about topics related to your business. Of course, you may need a techie on your staff and a forum may require you to add moderators, or someone to respond to questions people raise in the forum.
A third idea might be to link your website to a Facebook fan page where you encourage your customers and prospects to interact with a company spokesperson. At a minimum you should add a comment form on your website, to make it easy for people to ask a question or make a comment.
If you are selling lots of products on your website, you probably should provide a help desk to deal with the issues your customers may face. In short, don’t expect your site visitors to suffer in silence. They are more likely to go away and never return.