Website Rapid Fire, vol 2

Hello, and welcome to Episode 9 of Aftershock Weekly: Website Rapid Fire, vol. 2. Today we’re talking about when to update your website, and what type of Content Management System to choose.

So, let’s start with this: when should you update your website? First, you want to make sure you have a responsive website. This means that as your screen size changes, whether you’re going from a 22-inch monitor down to a 16-inch laptop, down to an 8-inch iPad display, then on to a phone—you want your website to look good on all those screens, big or small. Sometimes that means you’re going to have to take away elements depending on the screen size and what the customer is using the device for. So on a phone, for example, you might find that the action somebody wants to take is to call you, so you make your phone number more prominent. On a desktop, you have other information that you want to display, so if your website’s not responsive, it’s probably time to have a revamp. Second, who cares if your website is not optimized for mobile? This is important because mobile is the number one screen size that people are viewing your website on today. This has changed over the last several years, and web browsing is going to only continue to grow in the mobile space. Built on an old Content Management System. Examples of Content Management Systems are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.  Content Management Systems make up the back end of your website where you can add pages, change your forms, update emails—you can do all the things you need to on the back end to make your website look nice, and be functional, on the front end. And lastly, having an old portfolio or outdated testimonials mean it’s time to update your website. If your portfolio is limited to items that are five, six years old, or testimonials that are about the same age, your sales numbers are likely to suffer. You want to make sure this content is up to date and fresh. You can have older portfolio items and testimonials, but you want to make sure that you’ve also got new, relevant stuff so that people looking at your business know you are still performing well and can check out current projects you’ve been working on.

Now let’s talk about how to choose a Content Management System, and what options are available. First is WordPress. WordPress has over 140 million downloads, and is the most popular content management system right now. That is the best CMS whether you are a beginner that wants to build their own website, or a very high end programmer that is well-versed in PHP and wants to be able to have all the customizations they need. WordPress is great, because a beginner can go on and launch WordPress, put a theme on there, build their pages and put content in, and launch a website within a matter of a couple days. If you don’t have a lot of experience, it might not be the most professional-looking website, but it’s a great content management system for a new beginner. Drupal is a little more complex. They have a great content management system, but that’s not something a beginner can understand unless they have a basic HTML, CSS and PHP background. There’s a lot more programming and a lot more flexibility in Drupal’s content management system if you know those languages. If you don’t, it’s a little bit more difficult for you to manage yourself, and you would need another company to do so on your behalf. Joomla is another example of a content management system that also takes a little more expertise. So, if you have the expertise, or if you hire a company to build your website with Joomla, then you should be fine. It’s a great content management system that constantly is supported and has new developments for their plugins all the time. And lastly, you might want to go with Squarespace or Shopify. Squarespace and Shopify are awesome for e-commerce websites when you just need to get a few products up and you need to be able to take payment and sell your products. They’ve set up a great content management system that will let you upload images of your products, descriptions, provide you with different payment gateways and payment processors, and allow you to be in business for yourself online pretty quickly. There are a lot of limitations to those platforms, so you want to make sure that when you’re looking at this as an option, you’re looking at what your goals are—not only short term, but long term—to see if this is the right platform for you. With that, we wrap up Episode 9. Thanks so much for tuning in, we look forward to seeing you next Monday. And with that we’ll leave you with a quote.