So you have a website for your home performance business, and it's pretty good. But you'd really like to add some new articles and can't do it without paying your "web guy" a ton of money, or without contacting your nephew who spun it up for you and is now on a hitchhiking trip across South America.
OR, you don't have a website yet, but are stumped by all the possibilities -- you could get a cheap template site, or you could pay someone to whip up a site for you, but you're not sure how good it will be or whether they will be able to incorporate the functionality that you'd like. What to do?
Well, most websites fall into one of two categories: they're either a static website, or a website driven by a content management system (CMS).
What's the difference?
A static website:
- Is coded by a developer in a static language like HTML or XHTML.
- Any edits or additions to content must be done by someone with knowledge of code.
- It may be less expensive in the short term, but subsequent changes will likely cost quite a bit of money (paying a developer by the hour isn't cheap), so upfront savings may be offset over the long term.
A content management system (CMS):
- Allows you to edit your site's content yourself using a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor that works much like a word processor, but automatically translates your text into code for you.
- Doesn't require knowledge of HTML or other website code to update.
- May be more expensive than a static website in the short term.
- Almost certainly more affordable than a static website in the long term, since you don't have to pay someone to make updates.
- Is certainly more dynamic than a static site, because you can change your site's content whenever you want, rather than scheduling a time for your "web guy/gal" to do it for you (or finding the money to pay someone to do it for you).
- Facilitates instant, meaningful change: updating your website is faster, easier, more convenient, and cheaper. You can make a meaningful change to your site in the same time that it would take to look up your web guy's phone number.
There are, of course, drawbacks and benefits of each type of website. We do think, however, that in today's changing marketing landscape, it's more important than ever to have a hand in your brand and to be able to have some control over how your business is presented to the world. (See our recent post on the new trust-based internet for more on that.)
Why you should have control over your website's content:
Fresh content is the mother's milk of search engine optimization, and one of the best ways to improve your chances of showing up toward the top of search engine results and thus increasing leads and jobs. (Here are a few content creation ideas for you.)
This is especially true in the home performance industry, where questions/answers are often what drive people to seek out an energy auditor or a home performance contractor and solve whatever problem they have once and for all (whether that's ice dams, drafts, cold rooms, high energy bills, poor indoor air quality, etc.). If you have good, educational content on your website that can serve as an educational resource for curious homeowners in your area, you're more likely to establish a trust-based relationship with those potential customers and increase the chances that they'll hire you.
All questions and comments welcome, and as always, feel free to get a hold of us if you're interested in learning more about web marketing for home performance professionals!