The most common mistake I see on small business websites today is the digital flyer. Someone designed a handout with information about a sale or an upcoming event. Then they saved it as a PDF or an image and put it up on the website. Makes sense right? Just use the same thing on your site that you hand out. Wrong. Posting information solely as an image file cripples your promotion efforts.

Small businesses need to understand the role a website plays in their marketing. It’s a different way of communicating, just like a radio commercial is different from tacking a flyer on a bulletin board. If you need to have your online information received and understood, you have to know how the Internet reads content.

Marketing people and Internet experts talk about content a lot. Content is basically the words and images on your site. Images and visual content are a critical part of blog posts and successful internet marketing. However, colorful pixels don’t tell the whole story of that image. Today’s social networks, search engines and data systems require additional information about every image, and that information comes in the form of text.

For example, WordPress asks you for some descriptive text every time you upload or add an image. Since computers don’t use sight to recognize images, metadata like this helps search engines and web browsers know what your image is about. Metadata is crucial to accurately representing your content within systems that don’t display visuals.

It’s for this reason that you can’t depend on a graphic alone to convey important data. The visual is important, true, but visitors will see your website on a thousand different systems. Some of those systems might even be screen readers, used by the visually impaired to browse the web. And by default, most email programs don’t show images at all. Including your vital data as text is the best way to ensure the message gets through.

How To Post Event Information As Text

Now, I’m not saying it’s a total waste to post your flyer online or send it to your email list.  I’m saying it’s foolish and you should avoid doing that. Instead, edit your webpage so that all of the vital information is typed in. You’ll want to at least include the following information:

  • Name of the event
  • Start date
  • Name of the venue
  • Full address information for the venue
  • Offer/price and registration information

Just type this information in like any other written content. Nothing fancy, just the facts, ma’am.

Advanced Tips

One way to accept registrations is to provide a phone number or mailing address. However, you might also use a service like Eventbrite to easily and securely handle that. If online registration is part of your plan, make sure to clearly outline the ticket options and include a link to the registration page.

Once you’ve got everything typed in, your event information should be much more compatible with search engines and email programs. However, you can take it one step further. If you’re serious about optimizing every page for Google, take a look at the Structured Data Markup Helper. With this tool, you’ll add special tags to your typed out information that identify date, time and other information for Google’s system. Google uses those tags to improve search results.

After tagging your page with the Markup Helper, the tool generates the correct HTML code to paste into your site for the event information. That’s where it gets tricky. If you’re on WordPress, use the Text editor to paste in HTML.

Having trouble getting the tools to work for you? Contact your marketing company or web developer.

Now, if you’ve got all of data formatted and tagged, feel free to include a cool graphic or picture. Visual content will spruce up your event page and help it look good when you share it on Facebook and other social media. And when both visuals and text are working together, your website is the foundation for a strong event promotion effort.

photo credit: Kris Krug via photopin cc