I meet many small and mid-sized business owners. It’s amazing to me that, even in mid-2013, so many don’t operate websites. Statistics vary, but by some counts an astonishing three in four companies don’t maintain a web presence.
And then there are I call 90s sites in The New Small. These are the websites that look like that they have not been updated in fifteen years. These websites—and I use that term loosely—are often bereft of content and anything remotely resembling contemporary design.
In this article, I’ll make the argument that business owners need to stop thinking about websites. Instead, they need to embrace content management systems (CMSs). The difference is hardly semantic; rather, the CMS represents a completely different mind-set.
In the website world, you “set it and forget it.” On so many levels, this mentality is just antiquated.
Benefits of CMSs
CMSs like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others offer a number of significant advantages of static websites—or pages, to be precise. First up, they are designed to maximize discoverability or Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When used properly, CMSs allow businesses to be found on the web. CMSs don’t “break” when you add hundreds of posts or pages. Add as many as you like. On my main site, I have written nearly 600 posts—and that’s not even that large.
Content marketing is all the rage these days. Educating prospective customers is not only less expensive than traditional advertising, it’s often more effective.
When you use a contemporary CMS, you benefit immensely from its ecosystem—its community of users, developers, and web designers. Other uses find security issues and suggest improvements to software and additional features. And if you want to add something like Twitter or Facebook integration, it probably already exists. Myriad plug-ins, themes, extensions exist for these CMS. This serves to expedite development time while concurrently reducing costs. Have an issue? Just Google it. Odds are that someone else has faced your same problem and the solution is just a click away.
But forget quantity of visitors and Google PageRank for a moment. A professional, content-laden website increases the chances that your business will thrive. On a personal level, I moved over to WordPress in 2010 and my only regret is that I waited so long. My old site did not confer nearly the sense of professionalism that my new site does. I am convinced that I have landed high-profile speaking gigs because of my web presence.
In a world rife with content, it’s not easy to be found. Once someone stumbles upon your site, why not try to keep that person there? The best way: A professional, fast, well-designed, and user-friendly site that presents and well-written information.
It’s silly to think that people have to go to your site. Is anyone hurting for content? What’s more, sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook mean that anyone can find out the location of your business without ever visiting your site.
What say you?