I was talking to a customer the other day about how the web offers small business owners more tools and functions than ever before. Think about about it. The ability to add, modify or remove content from a website without any programming knowledge. The ability to, in real time, update followers of events, news, and changes. The ability to sell digital products online. You get the idea.
This abundance of web based options available is amazing. However, this plethora can also be pretty overwhelming. Many small business owners believe they need to use all these tools in order to be effective. They go out and hire a marketing company to build them a website with tons of bells and whistles. They set up every possible social media account they can think of. They create a complex set of steps in order to manage all these things they have running. Very quickly the small business becomes overwhelmed having to manage it all. They have a system that is so much bigger that they really need. It is now either costing them a lot more to manage or they have stopped doing anything with it.
Let me give you an analogy. Let’s say that managing your website is like taking a week vacation. What do you need to go on vacation? You need a destination, your luggage, your travel companions, your credit card and your car. You simply load everyone up and head out to wherever you are going. Sounds pretty straightforward right? Let’s imagine trying to do the same vacation but you use a semi-tractor trailer as your vehicle. Major overkill right? It would be lot more complicated. It would cost you a lot more to go. It would take a lot longer to get there… And seriously, what do you know about driving a semi? Not much. Managing your website can feel like a similar experience. You want something that is simple, that gets you where you want to go quickly and easily, yet the tools and functions that have been put together for you are so much more complicated to manage that you almost don’t want to use them. Making a simple change feels like you are having to go through big steps to get it done.
So what can you do about it?
Here are 3 things that you can do to simplify managing your website.
- Simplify the web tools you already use.
If your website is built in Joomla or Drupal and it feels too complicated, consider migrating it to wordpress. If your shopping system is a proprietary ecommerce package that requires an advanced level of skill, then simplify it and use something with less options. If you have 40 social media accounts and you only have time for Facebook & Twitter, then cancel the other ones and go with what you know.
- Learn to automate.
Did you know that you can automate the time a post is published in wordpress or when a status update is available to view? If time is an issue for you but the priority of posting content is high, then consider allocating specific time to create and post your content ahead of time. If you spend an hour a week posting content using an automated schedule then you can set the day and time your content goes live. It is a great way to feel like you are managing your website on a regular basis because the content is new on a frequent basis. It is a smart way to work because it focuses your time and gives you the flexibility to not be on your website all the time. In addition, you can use things like twitterfeed.com as a way to automatically pull your website content and repost it in your social media accounts. Great way to keep your content flowing without the extra time of posting in individual locations.
- Realize the beauty of keeping it simple.
In this day and age, there is a lot of pressure to keep up with all the latest trends, social media systems, etc. What happens is that everyone jumps on the bandwagon with the trends and ends up appearing the same as everyone else. Using web tools, social media, etc is a great thing, but it has to be a reflection of you as the business owner. If the technology and trends don’t fit your business, then why try to force it. Keep it simple!