06 Jul The Digital Online Foundations Your Web Presence Needs
I want to talk about the foundations — in particular, the digital online foundations that every business needs. And we are talking here as part of a sequence of four specific steps that I would recommend any business takes that wants to grow. Those steps are: strategy, foundations — which we are going to focus on here — content, and traffic.
What are digital foundations?
Well, let me start with a story. Every time I go out and speak to groups of CEOs and entrepreneurs I encounter this same problem over and over and over again, which is that most of these businesses focus on whatever their products and services are. So engineering companies focus on the engineering, hardware companies focus on their little bits of hardware they make, architects focus on the buildings that they design and so on. Very few therefore focus on the online world, leaving that instead generally to some kind of marketing type officer, sometimes more of an operations officer or even an IT kind of person. Those people tend to look at websites as a technical exercise, and as a result I find so many websites that are 5-8 years old — which is generations old when it comes to the online world — and they are written in languages like HTML, or maybe PHP or ASP or ASPX — all now dinosaurs, relics of how websites used to be made back in the day. I remember because I started making websites when the internet began in the sort of mid-1990s when I was still at university at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia. So I remember the coding in HTML1 before most things were even possible when it came to designing a website. These days, however, that world has changed dramatically, and you need to create a website with strong foundations.
What does it mean to have strong foundations?
It means a website in general that’s very flexible. Flexible websites are created using a content management system, usually using something like WordPress, which in many ways seems to have won the CMS wars. There are other alternatives, like Drupal and Joomla, and other website online systems, like Wix and Square. As long as you can manipulate the website and do appropriate SEO, most of them are terrific. WordPress seems to have an advantage because it’s so ubiquitous that it’s easy to find people who can work in WordPress. And it’s easy to train new people in WordPress since it’s pretty easy to understand and play with.
The second thing with web foundations is that the website wants to be responsive. In other words, it wants to change in response to its environment. It wants to have a small number of large words when it’s on a cellphone. It wants to have a larger number of smaller words when it’s on a PC and something in between when it comes to when it’s on a tablet.
What else is needed?
In addition to being flexible and responsive, it needs to be secure and it needs to have strong SEO foundations. But a website is not the only thing you need to actually get going. How about your social media platform? Well, your Facebook page, for example, needs to be the right kind of page. It needs to be a fan page as opposed to a personal page. Otherwise you can’t use the major advertising engines that drive Facebook. Same goes with Pinterest, for example; you need to have that social media platform setup as a business Pinterest account, not just a normal Pinterest account. Otherwise you can’t use all of the cold traffic things that you are going to need later on down the road. Same goes for YouTube — yes, of course you need a YouTube channel, and you need to have a nice header, but you also need to go through the process of registering the domain name server records that you will need to connect your website to your YouTube channel so that you can actually make meaningful conversion, and to drive people from your videos to your website. Otherwise, again, your YouTube channel becomes kind of useless.
So without strong foundations your website, social media channels, video channels become kind of useless. So I suggest that you make sure you have your foundations absolutely set before you even bother to develop the further steps of your online presence.