Scene, nightfall in a small Maine town. A weary traveler and his family, having driven many miles on the Interstate and back roads, arrives hungry and ready to explore your town. His kids are starving and whining in the back seat. He pulls out his smart phone and searches for restaurants nearby. He is intrigued by your café and, after checking out your website and some reviews, heads off, excited to try the delicious food people raved about on Yelp! What’s this? As he pulls into the parking lot, he sees that the café is dark, the open sign not flashing a promising “hello.” In the dim light of the street lamp, he reads on your door that you are no longer open on Mondays for dinner. But you never updated your website to reflect this change.

Graphic of a station wagon

Just think — this tired, hungry traveler is now a cranky and hungry traveler who, during the next two weeks of vacationing in your quaint town, will go to the other cafés and restaurants and not yours for when he thinks of your café, he gets cranky all over again. He and his family are lost business. They would not have had this experience if you had simply updated your ever-so important website. End scene.

Summer is here! Hundreds of thousands of visitors are coming to Maine for a vacation and many of our state’s businesses depend on these summer guests for their livelihood. We know that more than 80 percent of travelers begin their research on the Internet, so if the information they find there is not accurate, it can really throw a wrench in their summer plans. With all the work to get ready for the tourism season, many businesses forget, or don’t make time, to check that their websites are still accurate. For all of the thousands of people with their iPads and smart phones finding places to eat, sleep or play at, the information they find on the Web is becoming more and more important in their buying decisions. As a Maine business owner, you want that purchase to be as easy as can be.

At Marshall Communications, we know that a website is never “done.” There are always things to do like tweak the content, update your images and try to lower the bounce rate. We also know that you don’t always have time for all the changes you’d like. We cannot stress enough the importance of updating your site so here are some easy ways to help make sure your site doesn’t create another cranky traveler!

For a quick fix so you’ll know that the majority of your site’s visitors will be getting the correct info, try these tips:

  • Review your Google Analytics to see what the most visited pages on your site are and carefully evaluate at least those few pages for any necessary updates.
  • See what your top keywords are and review the above-the-fold content to see if you can quickly (and naturally) add them to help drive a bit more traffic to your site.
  • Double check your hours of operation and make sure you list your street address and not just a P.O. box. If someone is using GPS to find you, they’ll need your physical address.
  • Ask a friend to review your site; sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will catch the most obvious errors that you couldn’t see.
  • These tips should help you eliminate many common website gaffes. Remember to update your site before your busy season, if possible. Good luck and we hope you have an excellent summer!