Online Self Sufficiency for the SMB
To many, if not most, the online space is still a dark mysterious void. From our experience, clients may have a website but for the most part only a few have an idea of how it got there, or even how it works. None of this is helped by the fact that many website developers still like to keep what they do wrapped up in an air of mystery. This is especially true for online stores.
But what if we were to say to you that in order to really succeed online, you have to have learn how to push the buttons and pull the levers yourself?
Now, we are not suggesting in any way that you have to rush out and take a 6 month course in programming so you can dive into the guts of your website/online store. Rather, we are suggesting that you spend the time to learn about the various aspects that drive your site and in turn take control of them yourself. In other words, the only time you should have to contact who was responsible for putting your website into play, is when you need some code added/changed or structural changes undertaken.
What are our 5 tips for learning?
1. Know your system and learn what makes it tick.
Learn about the system used to run your website, be it WordPress, Dupral or Joomla (we always suggest WordPress). You don’t need to get into the code it but you should spend enough time learning it so as you can administer all that can be administered through the admin panels.
You will want to make sure you know it well enough to create new content, keep it ‘clean’ of dead or outdated content, manage products, orders and any images that are uploaded. If you are inclined, learn how essential things such as plugins work and the effect they have on the website’s performance, though you can leave this to your expert if you are not ready to go that deep.
2. Learn basic image editing.
More than ever, websites live and die by their images; like they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Learn the basics of image editing, from simple things such as resizing and resolution through to more advanced topics such as image re-touching and manipulation. The ability to undertake image basics provide you the freedom to keep your website fresh and current. More importantly, it will allow you to keep it looking professional.
3. SEO basics.
SEO is touted by many specialists as a black art you need to pay thousands to partake in successfully. While to some degree SEO is a very deep and increasingly complex area, core SEO practices, also known as ‘on page SEO, are simple to implement and surprisingly effective.
If you are a WordPress user, then we can not strongly enough suggest getting on board with either the Yoast SEO or SEO Press plugins (we provide SEO Press integration and setup for all our sites) and learning to use it. It’s not at all difficult to set up and use but learning to do so will ensure that everything you do online will at least have a solid chance of being search engine happy and comply to best SEO practices.
4. Keep control
While nothing to do with the actual website as such, learn about the key systems used in conjunction with your website. Domain names, DNS, server access and email – learn the basics and learn how to have control of them.
When your site is being built, ask all the questions you think you need the answers for. A good consultant will happily walk you through them, helping get you up and running – believe us when we say, most good site builders will want you to be self sufficient to a certain level, rather than having you call them up every second day asking them to do a 2 minute job.