Is your website too scary to handle?

As a business owner are you cautious about the challenges that technology brings to your business or are you the type of entrepreneur that just throws themselves into it?

As you can imagine as a digital strategist, I LOVE all things tech but I know a lot of my clients initially shy away from it.

It seems so complicated and they are worried if they press the wrong button they will accidently delete something!

And I can completely see how terrifying that can be whether it’s with your website, social media or video profile.

Over the next few months I will be sharing some practical and actionable tips to help you get more comfortable with tech and in this post we are going to be focusing on websites.

But first…

Getting to grips with tech

I’m on a mission to help 10,000 entrepreneurs get comfortable with using tech for their businesses so they no longer see it as some sort of dark art.

This doesn’t mean suddenly becoming an expert in the very latest technology trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning or virtual reality.

But it will mean getting a sense of how some of the latest forms of tech might impact your business and open up opportunities for you directly. So if, for example, you are a health and wellbeing coach or a personal trainer and selling supplements via your website is something you’re focussed on then knowing that the next big thing is ‘touch commerce’ could be extremely useful.

Having an understanding of new technology and how you can best utilise it helps you take a step ahead of your competition. And being an early adopter can put you in a totally different playing field.

But before you get to ‘touch commerce’ ‘virtual reality’ or ‘IoT’, you first need to get comfortable with the basics.

The pace of change

As a business owner your website is one of the most essential tools in your kitbag.

There has been lots of talk over the last few years about websites becoming obsolete or less important but they are still very much around and people are still engaging with them all the time.

My view is that websites will evolve just like newspapers and magazines have evolved. We saw Vogue magazine come out with its first digital publication last week – is this a sign of their evolution? I think so.

A lot of this evolution will be driven by the shift towards mobile web usage. People are increasingly viewing websites on mobile devices and that creates challenges in itself, for example, trying to click on small buttons or read tiny print. 

But before we start jumping ahead the purpose today is to start to get you more familiar with your website, how you can make sure it continues to work well for your business.

Terminology

A good place to start when getting to know your website better is the terminology – now there is a lot of this but I just wanted to share a few basic terms and explain what they mean:

Front-end and Backend: Think of your websites like a coin with a heads and a tails side. The heads side is called the front-end and this is what people see when they visit and interact with your website. The tail is the backend where the development of your website takes place. It contains files, a database and links to a server and your visitors can’t see what is going on there. Without the backend, the front-end couldn’t exist.

CMS – Content Management System: The CMS makes it super easy for you to make changes to the frontend of your website and you don’t need any expert knowledge of coding to make those changes.

Responsive Design: This makes your site mobile friendly which is what you need.

Plugins: These are additional pieces of software that act as an add-on to your website so it can carry out other functions that might be beneficial. These extra functions could include – displaying your social media feeds, running an automatic backup or blocking spam comments on your blog pages.

Get familiar with how the backend looks

The first step towards getting properly comfortable with your website and how it works is going into the backend, where all the programming and design takes place. It might seem somewhat daunting initially but even by going in and just taking a little look around you will be familiarising yourself with basic functions in a way that can be really very useful to you down the line.

Backing up

Once your website has been designed and prepared you want to make sure it’s being backed up. Normally your website designer will sort this out for you but it’s still useful to know the following:

  • Where is your site being backed up to?
  • How often is it getting backed up?
  • If something does go wrong what is the process for getting the last copy of your site uploaded?

I always advise my clients who are on my ‘Build Me Beautiful’ course to back up daily while they are designing/making changes to their site. Once the site has gone live and things have settled down I recommend that it gets backed up once a week and or before they update any plugins or software.

When making changes to your site I always recommend to my clients that they run the backup first – it’s a very simply process, you just click on the word ‘update’ (if you’re using WordPress) and it springs into action.

A lot of websites use the plugin Updraft and there are free and paid-for versions. Speak to your designer because they might be using something else depending on the platform you are using for your website.

Keeping your site safe

Updating your plugins, your web template (for most people this will involve WordPress) and your website theme (if you are using one) is essential to keep your website safe.

It is a lot easier for hackers to get into your system when your website is running old versions of your website themes, plugins etc.

It’s really a very simple process once you know how. You just go in, for example, to your plugin menu, scroll down the list and see which plugins need updating and then you press update.

Plus, if you are using the Updraft plugin, you can set it up to save a copy of your website before any updates take place.

This can be a daunting step into the unknown at first but if you get your website developer to show you how then you will soon get a sense of how it all works.

Uploading a blog post

Now, this might seem like a big exercise but a lot of people write blogs on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and if you have to keep going back to your website designer to upload your post it is going to get very expensive.

Learning how to upload your blog provides you with so many other skills for your website. You learn how to:

  • Create a page
  • Upload images to the media library
  • Create alt tags for your images (which really helps your SEO)
  • Change wording
  • Save your work and then publish it

And it generally builds your confidence in using your website.

Now all of this is done in the blog section but what you learn you can apply to other pages as well. You don’t necessarily realise this at the time but learning how to upload a blog will help you with other areas of your site.

One of my clients who attended my Build Me Beautiful website design course who had no programming skills created a website from scratch because she knew how to upload a blog post and could apply that learning to the other pages. Of course, there was a lot more to it than just creating pages but she had a good basis to work from and it didn’t seem so daunting.

Keep on learning

Setting yourself the goal of becoming more familiar with how your website works and how you can keep it in good working order is always advisable for any business owner. Websites are so central to how contemporary businesses function that it can make a huge difference.

Working with someone who really knowns their stuff and has plenty of experience working with websites can be helpful, especially as you’re at the stage of getting to grips with the basics. Speaking to your website designer is a good place to start, or you could look for courses that will show you how to maintain your site and keep it up to date.

If you would like to work with me then I run Tech Clinics both in-person and online. Just send me a LinkedIn message or an email at anita@bommiemedia.com and we can arrange a time to speak and see if this is a good fit for you.

ABOUT ME

Hi, I’m Anita Wong and I’m a Digital Strategist and the owner of Bommie Media, an agency that’s passionate about making it easy for business owners to get to grips with technology and not see it as some sort of dark art.

I’ve worked with 100s of entrepreneurs to transform their visibility and support them in getting the exposure they need to attract their ideal clients.

Clients work with me in one of two ways.

I provide a ‘done for you’ service where I design and build your website and social media platforms from scratch.

Or I show you how to ‘do it yourself’ through my courses and tech clinics where I share my knowledge and expertise in easy to follow, step-by-step processes.

Before setting up Bommie Media, I worked in online sales where I developed a passion for everything online. Prior to that I was an ICU Nurse in Cardiology.

I have a certificate in marketing from the London School of Marketing and studied web design and programming at West London College.

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