June 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Century City Tech Report: Establishing And Maintaining An Online Presence

By John Agsalud

Special to Century City News

Century City Tech Report (Thinkstock).
Century City Tech Report (Thinkstock).

Establishing an online presence is one of the main requirements of businesses and government agencies today. This is often easier said than done. While pretty much anyone can get a website up and running, an effective presence takes some thought and planning. After all, a bad website can do more harm than good. There are several elements that need to be taken into account when tackling such an endeavor.

Step one is to define the purpose of your presence. Hint: The purpose of a website cannot be just to have a website. Some common purposes include building a trusting expert relationship, attracting strategic customers or informing the community.

Content needs to be kept timely and relevant. Nothing is more off-putting than dated information on a website. Images of day-to-day life around the organization often help to build a sense of community.

Videos are becoming more and more popular as technology advances. Videos can be hosted on YouTube.com, or many other sites that can host videos directly. Introduction of key staff members is a popular option, especially if the organization wants to demonstrate multilingual capabilities.

Blogs are another popular method to disseminate timely and relevant information. This information can be much less structured and more informal if desired.

Ancillary sites also should be considered. Keeping a presence on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and industry-specific sites such as healthgrades.com (for medical professionals) is a plus. Link to these from your main website.

Of course, all of this requires some care and feeding. Ensuring timely content has gotten easier and easier with the use of technologies such as RSS feeds, but human interaction is still required. The level of effort needed to support your presence should be estimated upfront. If the organization can’t dedicate the effort needed to properly support the desired outcomes, then the desired outcomes need to be scaled back. As mentioned above, a poorly maintained presence can be worse than no presence at all.

The good news is that establishing a Web presence has gotten much easier. Companies such as Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and GoDaddy, among others, provide a robust set of tools that allow an organization to build a pretty good website. An information technology professional might not be needed to take advantage of these sites, but some IT skills are required.

Tools from these vendors allow you to quickly and easily build a website with the features described above. Furthermore, maintaining a website using these vendors’ tools is also made easier. Many of these vendors also allow you to track who is coming to your website, as well as optimize your website for search engines.

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