We take a look at the methods for keeping customers and fans in the loop and keeping your online presence active and interesting.
In recent years and thanks in part to the growing popularity of services like SquareSpace and Wix, more people than ever have been able to set-up a website for everything from their latest book to their local baking services.
However, most of these websites end up being very static and are rarely updated after thier first creation. This can lead to outdated information, but it can also simply make your business seem, which means missing out on new customers or fans.
After all, you are constantly changing, evolving and creating - so why doesn't your website reflect that?
There’s two traditional ways to make a static webpage a little more dynamic: Blogging and Social Media. Let’s take a look at those in more detail.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all hugely popular sites for creators and small business owners, and remain some of the best places to advertise. Nearly everyone with an online presence will have to manage account on those sites to some level, but they aren't always the best place for every communication. One thing they all have in common is they rely on a constant stream of fresh content and they emphasize newness above anything else, including quality. And simply having folowers doesn't mean those followers will see your posts. Social media is deisgned around paid advertising, and if you’re not paying money, it can be very hard to be noticed on these platforms.
That’s not helpful if you want to engage with your audience about what you’ve been up to. Even if you have a decent Twitter following, which can take many years to develop, your tweet about your book release or your latest artwork for sale is only going to be seen by the few people who happen to be reading their Twitter feed at the exact time you tweet. Even then, you’ll be competing against a hundred other tweets that might fire off in the same hour.
It’s great for engaging with people directly, but it’s not all that helpful for talking about you or making announcements and updates simply because of the amount of noise. You need a place for you - that's why you created a website in the first place, right?
For a long time, the main solution to social media being too much about the moment and too heavily focused on advertisers was to run a blog on your site. A blog solves the ephemeral nature of Facebook and Twitter by adding a permanent fixture on your site.
They give you the room and the time to talk about what you want, and while they obviously don’t have the audience of a large social network, they do get indexed by Google, which means appearing more often in search results. This in turn means more users arriving directly at your website to check out products or services.
Sound good? Well, that doesn’t make blogs the perfect solution as far as updating goes. Blogs are unwieldy and they can be hugely time consuming to run. Even Google prefers you to be writing posts of at least 300 words per post, and sometimes you want to talk about an update without writing an essay. There’s a reason you see so many dead blogs online - people underestimate just how much resources they take up, and thats time, money and effort you could be putting into what you actually enjoy doing, rather than just talking about it.
That’s without mentioning how difficult blogging software can be. Free software like Wordpress is widely available but dealing with different WordPress plugins and themes can be more difficult than actually make a whole new website. For most people, powerful blogging software like this is like heating a swimming pool to boil an egg - it’s simply overkill.
We’ve designed our micro-blogging service, ChangeCrab, as an alternative to WordPress and other big blogging platform that takes the best things about social media and allows you to place updates that are featured directly on your site in moments.
There’s no complicated installations, and you choose where our widget appears on your site. Plus, our editor has been designed from the ground up to be all about making quick, attractive update posts to your audience.
Using ChangeCrab you can put your latest work in front of fans without having to make a new page, install WordPress or hope that your Twitter posts will one day go viral. And best of all, it’s completely free!