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8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website

8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website
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The most important part of any new website is that it accomplishes its goal, and there are certain things anyone can do to make that happen. Simply follow these 8 steps to ensure success with your new website!

1. Craft a mission statement.

Think of your website’s mission statement as the backstory to a fictional character. Even though you might not explicitly tell readers the character’s backstory, it guides and influences everything that character does.

Your mission statement will guide and influence every decision you make with your new website. You don’t necessarily need to share your mission statement with viewers – though you certainly can – but you need to know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Without a mission statement, every decision you make for your new website becomes scattered. Viewers will pick up on that, and might not stick around because of it.

As an example, Lifehack’s public mission statement is:

“Lifehack is your source for tips to help improve all aspects of your life… This site is dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively.”

This is their guiding clause. Everything the company does and everything an editor publishes is done in response to this statement. A mission statement helps everyone involved fulfill a common goal, and is necessary to success with your new website.

2. Research your competitors’ choices.

This will come into play a lot when designing your new website. Take a look at a handful of other websites that are generally doing the same thing(s) as you.

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What are they doing that you like, or that you dislike? What can you learn from them, or do better?

If you don’t know your industry well, you need to do some research there. But you definitely need to learn from others in your same space.

Most brands do what they do because they’ve learned it’s a good way to do things. I promise you they each made plenty of mistakes along the way.

Doing this research – seeing what you can copy and what you can improve upon – will give your new website a jumpstart. It will keep you from making some of the same mistakes others have, and it will help you better understand how your new website can be successful.

3. Choose the right website builder.

There are plenty of places that help you build websites, but they’re not all meant for the same thing. Some builders specify in e-commerce, some in blogging, and some in photography and design, among others.

The most popular website builders seem to be WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. They each work wonderfully for millions of people, but one of them might or might not be right for your specific needs.

If you don’t have much website building experience, it will be good for you to look at who the best website builders are for your situation. Whatever your goal is, having the right framework to build upon is critical to ensuring success with your new website.

4. Pick an easy domain name.

When choosing a domain name (your website URL), practicality will almost always beats creativity. If you can meld the two, you’re doing great, but it’s a risky attempt.

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The reason being practical is better than being creative is search engine optimization (SEO). When someone searches Google to find an answer or a product, Google’s goal is to provide that person with the most relevant results.

If someone searches for, say, “running shoes,” a website like NewRunningShoes.com stands a better chance of being found than a website like SpeedyKicks.com. The first is naturally more relevant.

Can you win with creativity? Sure. But it usually takes more work and more money than if you’re practical. Keep in mind, your domain name is essentially your brand. It’s okay to spend a lot of time coming up with a good name. In fact, that would probably be best.

There are always exceptions to this “rule,” but you should generally make it easier for people to find you. Be simple, be relevant, and you’ll stand a much better chance of finding success with your new website.

5. Create your logo.

In truth, creating a logo is one of the more important steps to success with your new website. Name one reputable brand that doesn’t have a logo…

Creating a logo gives you a certain level of clout and legitimacy that’s needed to succeed. If you’re not sure what your logo should be, try answering these questions:

  • What have others in your space done? You don’t have to copy what others are doing, but you can use their decisions to help you make your own.
  • What do you want people to think when they see your logo? And how can you design something to create that impression?
  • How easy will your design be to understand, now and down the road? You want to make sure that your logo will always send a clear message.

Now that you have a better idea of what your logo should be, you have two options. You can start your logo yourself, or you can look into having a professional designer create one for you.

6. Make it easy to share and subscribe.

Traffic is the currency of the internet, and you need a lot of it to ensure success with your new website.

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Two things that help immensely are making your website easier for viewers to share with others, and making it easier for viewers to subscribe to your new website.

Social sharing buttons, email subscribe forms, and prompts or call-to-actions around nearly every corner are needed to get your website more traffic. Fortunately, there are a handful of tools you can use to do this well.

SumoMe and GetSiteControl are both popular choices that come with a suite of widgets like social sharing buttons, subscribe form pop-outs, and many other customizable features to help you drive traffic to your website.

Pick one, pick both, pick something else entirely, but you need as much help as you can get because you need as much traffic as you can get.

7. Update your website regularly.

You should be adding new items, posts, and updates to your website as often as you can without sacrificing quality. That could be anything from one new blog post a week to 100 new items every day! Just do what you can.

Updating and adding content to your new website does several things. It provides something to share with your email subscribers and social media followers, which can bring you more traffic.

In most cases, updating and adding to your website creates new web pages, which creates more opportunities for people to find your website.

Regular updates like these also send signals to Google and other search engines that you’re being active. This generally prompts them to send you more traffic.

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Basically, updating your website regularly should bring you more traffic, which is necessary to ensure success with your new website.

8. Get people talking about you.

You’ve done all the right things to get your website setup, and to get those initial visitors. But in order to grow, you have to get the word out to more people. The best way to spread the word is to get people talking.

Reviews are generally the easiest way to get people talking about you, because, well, you’re directly asking them to. Just prompt your customers to leave you a review on Google+, Facebook, or whichever platform is most applicable.

You can also offer incentives to customers or users who get their friends on board, such as free or discounted products. And then social sharing and email subscribers (covered in point 6) are great for spreading the word, too.

If you haven’t read it yet, the book Contagious by Jonah Berger is a must. He breaks down how and why people share things in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand. Of course, understanding why people do things is an important step to getting them to do the things you need.

Now that you have these steps to ensure success with your new website, the only thing left for you to do is put them into practice! Follow these steps, and one day soon you’ll be recounting the story of how you built a successful website. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Kenneth Burke

Director of Marketing

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

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