We all know the trick when you are off on vacation. Leave lights on, stop the mail delivery, have someone drop by often. The idea is to dissuade break-ins by giving an impression that there is someone at home – all the time.
I’m sure it’s true that most of the baddies would prefer to target homes with no one there or homes with reduced chance that people will return home in the middle of a burglary.
So, neglect of this trick leaves us vulnerable. That same vulnerability occurs when you neglect your online properties – websites, blogs, social media accounts. The worst is you get hacked and you don’t notice it immediately. Even without an online “break-in” subtle damage can occur. It can be equally costly.
The world may think that your business is on vacation.
Are There Signs of Life to New Visitors?
New visitors often look for some sign that your online information is current. They may look for something on your website that has a date. Many websites have a year in the footer, which is intended to show the last time the site was updated. Social media and blog posts (sometimes) have dates attached to them. All of this is proof that you care about your online properties and are maintaining them regularly. Proof that there is somebody at home.
I recently went to a website of an industrial manufacturer to find the last update of their site was 2012. What impression did that leave with me? I wondered if they were still in business (they are). Not good for attracting new business.
Corporate websites are built to support business. Many businesses are online because they have to be. Modern buying takes place at least partially online as shoppers gather information before buying. If a website is neglected it’s a message that online is not important to that business. Buyers can’t have access to the most current information to support an eventual purchase.
Are There Signs of Life to Return Visitors?
Let’s say someone has been to a website before and they return. In the online world, return visitors are gold. Most shoppers do not make a purchasing decision on their first visit. If they return, they have made the most important step possible to becoming a future customer or client. These golden return visitors must be treated with the highest regard.
They may return to a website to check on something that caught their attention first visit, but they will notice if things look the same. No problem if it’s a day later, but if they return in a month they may also be looking for something new – corporate news, product news – some sign of life in that business. If there are no changes it may not jeopardize their reason for returning. If they are returning to more than one site, sites that show signs of life have a huge advantage in impressing return visitors.
The days of a website as an online brochure are over. If you think of your website as static then you will get about the same reaction to it as what most brochures produce these days – a disinterested “meh”.
So, get in the game and show your online visitors that there is somebody home.