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Are Websites Passé?

Are Websites Passé?

Lately I’ve been struck by how much attention (and money) is being spent on online - but non-website - marketing. As a matter of habit I devour magazines such as
Internet Retailer and Website Magazine and have found that much of the emphasis has been shifting to Mobile and Social Media - primarily Facebook.

First- let me encourage everyone to subscribe to both magazines. Both are free (Website actually has two subscriptions - one quarterly that’s free and one monthly that has a small cost).

Second- If you’ve been putting off getting involved in Social Media, it’s time. In fact, you’re coming to the game late, so be prepared to put in some extra time and effort to make up ground.

  • You should be on at least the three cornerstone services - twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
  • Video is becoming an essential element in Internet Marketing - Make friends with YouTube!
  • Share your work where ever you can. Exposure is everything.
  • Register your work with the US Copyright Office.
  • Start and maintain a Blog.
  • Spend time everyday visiting other peoples blogs that are in your field, and leave comments! Make sure you provide your website address where they ask for it, and when appropriate, provide a link to something you’ve written on your blog.
  • Connect with other bloggers to share ideas, cross promote your sites, even become guest contributors on each others blogs.
  • If you can’t or don’t know how to update your website yourself, it’s like not having the keys to the door of your shop. There are lots of programs that are easy to learn and maintain- RapidWeaver and iWeb for the Mac are good examples, and of course, the darling of SEO gurus everywhere, Wordpress. Creating your own site isn’t that hard, take a little time to learn!
  • It is relatively easy to get a large following on twitter. It just takes some daily tending. Use that time to make new friends and explore some of the other opportunities we’ve discussed.
  • Write articles describing what you do for some of the article syndication services. These can actually make you some money as well as help people find you.
  • Content is the new coin of the realm. You don’t have to be a great writer or film maker just share something valuable.

Third- Start thinking about how you might structure your online presence to be attractive to people on the go, or using tablet devices.

  • Create a version of your website that is Flash- free
  • Remember smartphones have very small screens, make sure you optimize your message for the format.
  • Consider making an App or having one made for you.
  • Think about using location sensitive advertising on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook. All of these services will only display your add to people who are within a certain distance of your shop, gallery, or show. Great little reminder, don’t you think?

The place of the website has changed, In the dim past (10-15 years ago), we thought of the online marketplace like the shopping district in a quaint little village. Shoppers wandered from store to store marveling at the displays in the window, listening to the music coming from inside, and perhaps spending a little time browsing through the merchandise. Today, it’s more like entering a giant warehouse, going to the front desk, putting in your request and waiting while the minions scurry into the dark recesses, returning with a large stack of items. We usually choose from the top 3 or 4 in the stack, and the rest go back. What does this mean?

  • Getting people to you site is much more important than how it looks when they get there.
  • Getting involved with and developing your own online communities is crucial to your success. Period.
  • You are going to need to adjust your lifestyle, but the good news is that it can be a lot more fun than watching TV.

In other words, building a website today is like erecting a billboard in the middle of a farm… far from the nearest road. You have to find a way to somehow bring the people to it. Whether you provide maps, build roads, hire helicopters, walk in with them, or all of the above and more, will determine how successful your message and, ultimately, you are!