I talked to a small town Chamber of Commerce director. She told me how much she hated their current website. She was eager to get a new one, but replacing it would involve a committee, and bids, and approvals, and a long and expensive process.
You don’t have to be a Chamber of Commerce to find yourself in this situation. Plenty of other rural community organizations and even businesses are in the same crappy-website boat.
What can you do if you’re in a similar situation?
Stop Promoting the Website You Hate
- Start taking the address off of everything you produce. Yes, I’m serious. If you hate it, you know your visitors don’t like it, either. Stop torturing them with it.
- Replace the old address with the address for one of these temporary alternatives.*
Bonus: You can stop apologizing for the website you hate.
Create an instant alternative website.
- Create a simple social profile. Use a Facebook Page or a Twitter account. Only do this if you are able to update them yourself and will do so at least twice every week.
- Provide an online version of your email newsletter. Many Chambers already do an excellent email newsletter that could be turned into a replacement website in two steps:
1. Start a Blogger or Tumblr blog.
2. Find the “post by email” email address and add it to your list of email subscribers.
Now every email you send from then on will be automatically added to that blog.
Bonus: all of these alternatives are automatically mobile-friendly, meaning your visitors can actually use them from their smart phones.
Only include what people really want to know on your site.
They’re already telling you what they want to know by calling, emailing or walking in to find out. Keep track of those questions. When you answer them, turn around and re-use the answer.
- Post the answer immediately on your social network profile.
- Add it to the next email newsletter in the new section you’re going to call “This Week’s Top Questions.”
- Post it on your website in the Blog or News section.
Bonus: You’ll spend less time answering questions because more people will find the answers they need on their own.
Remember the one most important feature for your new website.
Focus on finding a system you can and will keep updated. That is the only thing that matters.
*If you have the ability to redirect your URL, you can point your old website address to the alternative site you create. Your domain registrar should have instructions for how to do that.
What advice would you add for those who are stuck with a website they hate?
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- Collisions, Serendipity and the Hybrid Vigor of Ideas - April 11, 2016
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- Small town tourism activity: Architectural scavenger hunt - March 28, 2016
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- Small business email marketing makeover: from a cluttered mess to a personal letter - March 14, 2016