Building a website to serve both immediate and future needs means the incremental costs of building a website (time, money, and energy) are a scalable investment. You don’t have to pay for every feature up front, but planning ahead for it means you won’t have to pay a premium to include it down the line. Ensuring a site can be scaled by adding pages and new functionality and features is the final online marketing imperative to have your website serve as a web solution.
In order to have a website that is scaleable, there are tools that need to be automatically built into every page. While this might seem like overkill for a five-page site, five pages can quickly balloon to 500 pages before you know it. Including the following best practices and tools will help you scale up without headaches:
– Google Webmaster Tools is a free service powered by Google that allows webmasters to verify they are the owners of their website. The technology shows website errors and page problems, and also allows you to submit a XML site map that helps Google read and index your site better to support search engine optimization.
– Keep an ongoing asset inventory list so you can scale your website with any new press releases, articles, photos, audio and video files, and more. Use what you have on your site. Keep a running tab of tools and technologies you can build into your website postlaunch.
– Keep a website map in the footer of your site and be sure to update it frequently as it evolves with new pages.
– Update the copyright in the footer as your site matures. Use a date range (© or Copyright [company name] 20xx–20xx) with the year of the site’s oldest material as your first date and the current year as your ending date. This longevity enhances your credibility.
– Make sure you have metadata (title, description, and keyword tag) on every page of your website to help classify pages within the search engines.
– Establish a naming convention to use descriptive file names for all photos. For example, if you sell Apple products to elementary schools, instead of labeling a photo “image58.jpg,” use something key phrase–rich like “my-new-ipad.jpg.”
– Place photo descriptions via the alt tags, HTML code that can be set by a webmaster to label the image to help describe that image in the code for organization of images. When you label photos with strong key phrases, this also supports search engine optimization.
– Make a list of existing advertising campaigns that may need dedicated landing pages so online ads click through to specific content to maximize sales power.
One of the reasons that many websites fail is a lack of follow-through. Here are a few things to think about to ensure healthy scalability:
– How will you update the site? (There are some fi rms where only the IT department can change a comma. A web marketer will want to update the site himself or herself or have a very reliable and speedy webmaster or web team able to make updates.)
– How long will content approvals take? (Technically website changes can happen instantly, but if every change needs to tunnel through five layers of approval, you need to build those roadblocks into your schedule.) How much new content needs to be created each month? (Pencil out a schedule.)
– How long will it take to create that new content?
– Who will create the new content?
– Do new graphics or photography need to be created for your website? If so, by whom?
– Who will update the site?
– Who will answer e-mails?
– Who is in charge of quickly responding to your social media communications?
– Who will moderate any forums or message boards?
– Who will take care of regularly scheduled maintenance?
– Who will be in charge of maintaining and cleaning up e-mail lists?
– How much time will each of these elements take each day/week?
Web marketing checklist
Online marketing requires a smart strategy. Part of that sound strategy includes smart management. Online marketing management requires attention to detail and organization. Be sure to keep your online records current and note the following information:
– All the domains you own, whom they are owned by, how long you have owned them, logins to your domain company
– Your hosting records (logins, how to submit help tickets, etc.)
– FTP (file transfer protocol) access for your websites
– Logins and access to your web analytics (If the webmaster owns this, get access, but try to own all of this on your own.)
– E-mail system logins
– Access to your logo files, templates, and designs
– Login and password to any third-party provider service
– Blog login and password
– Social media logins (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr)
– The contact phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses for all your service providers (domain, hosting, etc.)