Virtual Hired Hand - Website Makeover

If you have any acquaintances, friends, or family who are business owners, please forward this link. It’s a life or death situation (at least for their online presence).

Friday, I burned the little plastic dish that comes with the George Foreman grill. I was doing several things in the kitchen and started smelling something; but I thought it was my spinach. So I raced over and took it off the stove, but still smelled something that wasn’t right. UGH! It was the little plastic dish that comes with the Foreman grill to catch the grease and such from your food. I’ve had a crazy record lately of burning something at least once a week and for a while it seemed like every week. At this point, I just take deep breaths and try to figure out how I missed it and why I can’t stay focused in the kitchen.

I’ve tried tying myself down to the chair to wait for my eggs to boil or staying close to the stove as my chicken cooked. All so I could remember I was actually doing something in the kitchen. It makes me think about how websites are started.

Many offline business owners come to me interested in getting their websites made over. Have you ever noticed that many offline businesses are not online at all? Not really. Well, there’s a website, but not really an online presence.
No blog, no social media. It looks like a deserted land or like the kitchen when my food is burning up and I’ve fallen asleep on the couch. It’s because I’m not used to cooking that I forget. It’s gotten so bad I’ve smelled something burning and wondered who was cooking. Only to realize a few minutes later it’s my stuff burning. Oy!

That’s exactly what’s happening with websites. They’re burning up all over the place and are in need of “WebGirl 911”. I may forget a chicken breast in the oven, or forget I’m boiling eggs until the chicks crawl out of the pot, but I will not let a website go down in flames. And neither should you. If you don’t know whether your website is going down in flames, here are some indicators there’s smoke on your website:

You have a:

  1. Guestbook (remember when people congregated by the watercooler or coffee pot.)
  2. Website Visit Counter (and I’m not talking about the RSS feed counter, but counters at the bottom of the webpage. Did you know you can set these counters to whatever you want them to be? Oh, yeah they can be rigged, but then you shouldn’t be using them in the first place.)
  3. About Us page that shows the skyline of your city (there’s nothing wrong with the picture, however, people want to see you)
  4. Contact Us has a phone number but no email address or form.

What to do?

Glad you asked.

Consider a Facebook page to replace your guestbook. If you want it to be private to a select group, create a private Facebook group.

Replace the Website Visits Counter with Google Analytics to track actual visits and length of stay on your website.

Have a professional picture taken or take one with your digital camera and replace the amazing skyline.

Put your email address on the website or create an email address specific for the website. Be sure it’s an email that is checked regularly. You could also have it forwarded to your personal email account so you don’t miss any messages.

And if you really want to prevent a fire:

Get into immediately, start blogging, and be present online.

If you have experienced how these changes made a difference in your website, please share in the comments below.