The other day I was looking through the On This Day app in Facebook and came across and old client of mine whom I had connected with back in 2008. As I hadn’t heard from him for a while, I popped over to his website to see what was new with him. It hadn’t been updated in several years and my first thought was “I wonder if he’s still in business?”
Then I thought to look at my site. I hadn’t posted a blog in over a month and my portfolio is missing about a year’s worth of work. Yikes! Fortunately, I don’t have the post date feature turned on so unless someone is visiting my site every week (you all are, right?) it’s a little easier to hide the gaps. But that little voice in my head was telling me I needed to do some work on my site. Especially as I had just received a referral from a client and wanted to send out an email to follow up.
So I spent the morning scrambling to put up some new portfolio items before sending off the email, scheduled a few more update dates in my calendar and committed to writing this post.
Why is it so hard for digital marketing specialists to keep their own websites up to date? I mean, after all, I make my living out of helping other people keep their blogs current and their social media profiles active but it’s always so challenging to keep current on my own.
I’m busy… I’d rather be helping others… I’d rather be coding… there’s always a more important client deadline to meet… all these reasons come to mind when I think about the reasons for the gaps. Even as I’m writing this post, three client emails have hit my inbox with approval on an autoresponder series I wrote, a video outro that is approved for deployment and a password I needed to complete a social media audit. And with each chime of my inbox, my first impulse was to stop this post and get to work.
My reasons for not keeping my website updated are eerily similar to the reasons clients give me when they first speak to me about hiring a digital marketing specialist. Maybe I need to hire myself or at the very least, teach iKitten to code. It’s like I tell my clients: “You have to keep that marketing funnel flowing and working for you. The last thing you want is to have a potential client visiting your site and your most recent post is from last year.” D’oh!
If you’re struggling to keep your website updated, here are a few ideas to kickstart your blogging efforts.
1. Find Your “Why”
Your WHY affects everything. You’ve likely defined your WHY for your business: the thing that motivates you to jump out of bed every day and share your gifts and talents with the world. That’s the macro-level reason why you do what you do.
But how does that translate to keeping your website updated? Drilling it down to a micro-level, one way to find motivation is to look at your Google Analytics stats. Knowing how many people visit (or don’t visit) your website can be a powerful motivator.
If no one is visiting your site, ask yourself WHY? If it’s merely a matter of not having updated your site in several months, that’s an easy problem to fix. If you’re regularly creating content but not sharing it, also easy to fix. If you’re creating and sharing content and no one is visiting, maybe the content you are creating needs a little work. Still fixable, just takes a little more time. The important thing to remember is that there are solutions as long as you take action.
If people are visiting your site, guess what… what you’re doing is working. Okay so maybe your numbers aren’t in the hundreds of thousands but that’s okay. You have some place to start. Be motivated to serve the people who are visiting your site and following you. Make every connection count. People are coming to your site and they deserve to see the best content you can offer them.
2. Be Proud of Your Website
Now that you have a handle on the visits to your website, remember what you’re trying to accomplish with the content you’re creating. For most of the clients I work with, their aim is to educate potential customers about their products and services and share information. When you look at your website, are you proud of the information you’re sharing?
Is your company information up to date? Do you share examples of the services you offer? And, most importantly, are you sharing information freely with your followers? Not every conversation you have on your website or across your social media channels has to be a sales pitch. In fact, most of them won’t be. The digital media marketplace is all about relationships. You don’t need to be salesy to get sales. Just share your knowledge, show you are the expert and sales will come. Provide great tips and put them out there. Treat every connection on your blog, your email lists, your social media accounts as human beings. People buy from people. They don’t buy from blogs or random status updates.
Be proud of the content you share. Don’t feel pressure to change because the latest internet marketing guru is selling their formula for success. Do what works for you: whether that’s one blog post per month or 30. Do what works for you. Don’t write a blog post just because of some formula that says you need to be posting two times per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Write a blog post because you have something important to share. The content matters.
3. Set Up Systems
I’m all about systems. I’ll admit I’m not so good at always following them myself for my own business but when it comes to helping my clients succeed, systems are what keep us on track. If you haven’t written a blog post in a while or haven’t sent out a newsletter in a year (guilty!) then you need to start small. Instead of committing to a schedule of 8 blog posts per month of about 1,000 words each, a video update, a weekly podcast, several infographics and a newsletter per week… start with one blog post. That’s it: one blog post this month. That’s not to say that all those other examples of content aren’t great but if they’re holding you back from keeping your website updated, then having them on your plate is doing more harm than good. You need to make it easy to get into a routine or you will never get back on track. It’s just human nature: if something is too hard, we avoid it. So start small and create a manageable action plan.
Action Plan: Decide to post once a month, put it on your calendar (physically block out time) and make it happen. Sit down once a month and get that post up there. They key is to put it on a schedule. It’s a work hack of mine: it’s on the calendar… I have to deliver it. At first it will be challenging. There will be a million other things which you will want to do instead of writing your blog post. Stick to your plan. You’ll get there if you stick to it. After a few times, it won’t be so hard and you’ll find that you actually enjoy the process and look forward to sitting down and writing.
You don’t need to do it all at once. You can build things up slowly. Don’t pressure yourself to create several blog posts a week, all right now. Consistency matters more than quantity. Keeping your website updated is important, keeping your content up-to-date and the stories you tell about your business relevant, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. It can happen at a steady pace. Just schedule it and stick to your schedule.
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