Welcome back to launch your online business. Once your website is live, you need to think about how to maintain it. Keeping a website up and running is not so different than maintaining a brick and mortar shop. What would you need to do to keep your shop open, for example? You'd want to regularly change the window display, stock your shelves, create holiday displays, rearrange products so that your shoppers can find them better, order products that your customers are asking for, or hang up an article where your business was mentioned. Your online business requires the same kind of love and attention. Once you build it, you're not done, things need to be refreshed and updated to keep your online shop a place that customers will keep coming back. In lesson 13, we're going to cover keeping up your shop. That means your inventory, adding new products, refreshing your homepage, and your copy, writing your blog, and building your ratings and reviews, as well as sharing media mentions. Our first topic is inventory. Let's get started with one of the top priorities if you are a product business. You have to check your inventory every single day. Make sure all of your quantities are up-to-date in your inventory and that you're not running out of items. You might ask, doesn't my platform track my inventory? Yes, it does. It tracks all of the inventory that you sell. But might you deplete inventory and other ways? Yes. Think about marketing. To raise the profile of your company and products, giving away a few products can make sense. For example, to a company willing to write an article about your product or to an influencer who can promote your brand through their social media. But when you remove an item from inventory, you have to count the items or your inventory will be off. When I give away a product, I found that it's easiest to create an invoice and zero it out with 100 percent discount. This way, the products come out of the inventory on my platform and are fully accounted for. The product upkeep equivalent in the service business is keeping track of appointments. If for some reason you have customers who aren't using your website to schedule their service with you, you have to make sure you capture their order for an appointment on your platform so that you can account for the transaction. Being a good brand means being friendly and accommodating to people who are interested in your brand. Sometimes being friendly means that we don't follow our own rules. That's okay. Just make sure you record the things, products, or services that you may be giving away or scheduling off the books so that you don't end up with accounting problems down the line. Also, keep an eye on the quantities of your product in your inventory. When you see a product running low, you can plan your next purchase of your items or your next production run. That way, you have products available to sell on your website. Our second topic is new products. As you brand grows, you may delve into new products based on customer feedback or in other research you've done that indicates there's a customer need. For example, if you decide to add new items to your product or service line, think about the website content that you'll need to sell that new item. It will likely include new copy, you need to write a product shot, maybe requiring another photoshoot. When you write new copy, remember to track it in your copy deck. If you're creating new imagery or photography, consider how you can leverage your resources from past photoshoots to save time and money. Try to batch the new products or services together so that when you do the photoshoot, you're shooting a group of things to get more value out of your shoot. We've covered inventory and new products. The next part of keeping your website up and running is your blog. Blog serve many functions that are key to engaging existing and potential customers. Well, how to blogs do this? They do it through storytelling. Blog stories help your business in four key ways. Blogs boost SEO. Your entries can be searched by search engines so potential customers can find your site, and existing customers can find you again. For instance, every blog I write is chock full of keywords that I know my customers are searching for. This means that if someone's searching for, let's say a bespoke dog coat, my blog entry would likely come up in their search. If they click on my blog entry and read it, they may be inspired to look around my site. Blogs are for engaging content and each story encourages comments to be left by the customer. Blogs also contain shareable content so readers can recommend you to their friends by email, text, or social media. The result is increased awareness of your product. Blogs position you as an authority, this makes potential customers more confident in the value and quality of your product and it can lead to speaking engagements. At this point, you may be saying, I hate writing. I already tour my hair out with the product descriptions. Please don't make me write more, it's okay. You can hire a writer to write your blog posts, or you can assign someone on your team who likes to write to be in charge of the blog. Sometimes I find it easiest to dictate a story into a text converter like notes on my iPhone, and then I can go into the document to edit it. I promise it will get easier with practice. Let's talk about blogging best practices. Write a blog post each month, so that I have direction when it comes time to write, I keep a list of potential topics. Include an image, they provide a whole another opportunity for tagging. As you add more blog posts, create a KPI that tracks which blogs get the most visits. Use that data to write more blogs on that topic. The next topic in maintaining your website is your homepage. Think of your homepage as your storefront window. Having the same old display every month, month after month or year after year would not make your store very appealing to window shoppers. They would quickly assume that nothing much has changed and they just keep walking by. Your homepage works the same way. To keep your homepage engaging, you want to plan for a seasonal and holiday updates as they apply to your brand and customers. Seasons often lead to changes in your product mix or your services. If you're a landscaper, you're not plowing snow on the summer. Reflect that in your homepage imagery and copy. During the December holidays, you might be all about gift-giving. October means Halloween, and you can get spooky. Your brand lives in the same world as your customers, be relevant to them, and have some fun with it. For your activity, let's look at how brands approach their holiday refresh. Take some time to research how brands update their site to reflect the season or holidays that are happening right now. Use the website refresh worksheet and visit some of your favorite sites. Look for updates that reflect the season that we're in. Think fall, winter, spring, and summer. Look for updates that are influenced by upcoming holidays. What's seasonal or holiday messaging do you notice? Have some brands falling short when it comes to updating their homepage for the season or holiday?