When it comes to developing a website, the first thing that comes to my mind is “there is more than one way to skin a cat”. This proverb dates as far back as 1678 when it first appeared in a collection of English proverbs as “there are more ways to kill a dog than hanging.” I for one am grateful the saying has evolved. However, its’ meaning that there is more than one way to get something done is certainly true when it comes to website creation.
Just look online and you will find dozens of companies claiming to offer the holy grail of website designs so easy a monkey can do it. Well, I’m not sure about a monkey, but, truth be told, some website design templates are great to. My personal favorite is WordPress.com. Not to be confused with WordPress.org.
WordPress is a free, Web-based software program that a “non-techie” can use to build and maintain a website or blog. It was originally intended as an easy way to set up a blog. But, thanks to the efforts of a large “open source” community of WordPress programmers working to extend and improve its capabilities, WordPress has become much more than just a tool for bloggers
Similar to WordPress is another open-source program called Weebly. While my experience using this program is extremely limited, I found it fairly easy to make content updates though I have not tried to build a website from the beginning on Weebly. According to their website, they currently have six million customers.
Other popular web development tools you may have heard of include Drupal, Dreamweaver, Expression Engine, and Joomla. Most of the programmers that work with my company are moving away from Joomla and completely custom built websites to more contemporary and flexible tools like WordPress. The beauty of most WordPress templates and similar programs is they offer extensive customization if you want a really distinctive look and have the budget to hire a web programmer, or the option of doing it yourself (DYI) if you are adventurous, comfortable with computers, and on a tight budget.
Maintaining Your Visibility
One of the hardest parts of networking is the consistency that's required to maintain visibility and build credibility. If you're like most business owners and salespeople, you have to contend with natural busy cycles. There are times when you're so busy you struggle to find time to eat and breathe, while other times business moves at a snail pace and you worry about leaving the office and missing out on new business.
Here are three simple strategies you can use even through those insanely busy times to maintain your networking visibility. What you're trying to avoid in these periods is people saying: "I haven't seen (insert your name here) in forever, it's like they fell off the face of the earth." It hurts your credibility if you have these frequent long periods of absence.
1) Leverage Social Media
As a business networker, the bare minimum you should be doing in the online world is using LinkedIn and Facebook. Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus are optional, but LinkedIn is a requirement for B2B marketing. With all of these sites, including LinkedIn, you have the ability to update your status. Simply doing this can go a long ways towards keeping people from thinking that you've been sucked into a black hole. Put a recurring event on your calendar to do a quick update on LinkedIn and any other social media sites where you maintain a profile. If you do this every 1-2 weeks you'll never have a message up there that seems to be stale. Plus, it's easy to just say that you're "crazy busy working on ......., hoping to come up for air soon."
2) Be Physically Visible Once a Month
There's really no excuse not to get out for at least one event in a month. Go to a lunch event, or sneak away from the office early one evening and get to a happy hour or mixer. Try to do two things when you pick your monthly event. First, go where you'll know a number of people (they're the ones who will vouch for your actual existence). Second, choose an event that is well attended.
3) Reach Out to a Well Connected Friend
Make it a point to occasionally touch base with one of your most networked buddies. Staying top of mind with them will go a long way in making sure that nobody thinks you've made a run for the border.
That's it! This should seem achievable. That's the point. Establishing a minimum networking plan like this will keep you connected and out of trouble in case you suddenly have an urgent need that you know your network can help with. You don't want to come out of 6 months of invisibility only to ask your network for some favors. That's just not the way to do it.
- Reprint courtesy of Business Network International