One of the biggest draws of the vended laundry industry is that it’s “future-proof.” In other words, unless there’s some type of apocalypse that none of us see coming, people are going to need to do their laundry. It’s just the world we live in.
However, with that trait comes some practices that don’t lend themselves to growth. It’s easy to get caught in the rut of thinking that “people will always need us” and, therefore, to not look at how we can grow our businesses, open new doors, and stay ahead of newcomers and competition.
The biggest culprit of that rut is typically your website – which is why we’re talking about website maintenance. And I’m not talking just about those unfortunate sites that look like they were last updated in 2001. I’m talking about the ones that look modern, yet still boast the company’s 2014 event calendar, or that haven’t seen any regular maintenance in the last couple of years.
The rut is real, but you can beat it. Let’s discuss three simple ways to future-proof your website, and how it can help you get more friendly faces walking through your door.
Tip No. 1: Keep It Simple
First things first – you can’t go crazy with your design, content or anything else if you want to future-proof your website. I know that strategy sounds boring and like it might even hurt your brand – but, trust me, sometimes less is more. The less you put on your website now, the less you have to update, remove or replace in a year or two. That’s time and money saved.
What does this mean in practice?
First of all, it means that you need to leave calendar-based items completely out. If you like to host a bunch of in-store or community-based events, that’s awesome – but promote these events by stepping up your social media game, and forget about adding them to your website.
It also means that you need to ensure that your content, images, headlines and everything else on your site is evergreen. That means you write it now, and it’s still good in three, four or maybe even 10 years. That’s a tall order, but it will reduce site maintenance needs significantly.
Lastly, it means you probably need to not do it on your own – unless you’ve got experience in building websites. If you’re uninitiated, it’s not as simple as you think.
Tip No. 2: Get the Basics Right
At first glance, you might think this point is just a different way of stating my first tip. Not quite!
When you’re building a website, it’s a lot like building a business. Think of it as a typical laundromat. Your customers come in, wash and dry their clothes, pay, and leave. Simple, right?
Of course not. The backend of that entire operation is far from simple. You bought those machines, painstakingly tuned them, monitored your utilities, sourced detergent, performed regular maintenance, cleaned the entire store, and then performed a million other tasks. No, it’s not simple at all.
Your website is the same way. Keeping it simple means omitting things that aren’t necessary, but getting the basics right means investing time and effort into it now. Elements like your website architecture, SEO elements, meta tags, titles, headings, keywords and dozens of other items all help simplify how a user finds and interacts with your website.
But when you get all of this right, it means you’re prepared for whatever comes next – no matter what that may be.
Tip No. 3: Create Good Content
I’ve talked about content a lot in past columns – and for good reason.
Content fits into every part of an online strategy, and it can be a huge way to future-proof your website and online strategy. I’ve already mentioned the concept of evergreen content, but it bears mentioning again… and expounding on.
It’s easy to think that you don’t have a lot to offer content-wise. However, let me ask you this: what do you post on your social media platforms? Hopefully, you’re share information that instructs, guides and entertains. A good deal of that informative content is evergreen, and it can future-proof your site.
When you sit down and create a content strategy, you’ll uncover topics and ideas that will increase the relevancy of your site for years to come. A blog post that has relevant information can be as useful on Day 1,000 as it was on Day One. A landing page with compelling sales copy that attracts customers to your laundry business is worth every second and every penny.
The trick is taking the time to do your keyword research and finding ideas that will be good for both a search engine and a potential customer. It’s a difficult balance, but it’s completely achievable.
‘Future-Proof’ Doesn’t Mean Set It and Forget It
I hate to end on a “downer,” but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a critical, necessary final point when it comes to future-proofing your website. If you think your site can be set and forgotten, you’ve got another thing coming. In fact, Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times each year, and you can pretty much expect something new each day.
This means that your local listings, calendar from a few years ago and everything else we’ve talked about will be no good if you don’t continue to update.
Think about it this way: you wouldn’t leave a broken-down washer to sit neglected and rusting in the middle of your laundromat. So, why would you do that to your website? Regular maintenance and dedicated future-proofing are the only ways to win the digital marketing game. Don’t overlook this crucial process.