How to Automate Your Web Presence for Increased Productivity
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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Christian Abbas, and I’m pleased to welcome him back with his latest guest post. If you’re spending too much time on routine tasks, there’s probably at least one area where you could be taking advantage of automation.
Advances in technology seem to be changing the way we do things by the day. New software and AI tools being launched all the time continue to streamline the way we do what used to be mundane tasks, freeing up a significant amount of time for business owners. In this article, we look at some of the ways software developments and AI technology allow business owners to automate and optimize their website and marketing tasks.
1. Automating website backups
It’s essential for every website to be backed up routinely. The required frequency of these backups depends on how often you make changes to the website. For websites that are business-critical and updated most days, daily backups are recommended. For others, weekly backups are generally sufficient. Routine backups provide protection and ensure that there is always a copy of the site to recover from in the worst case scenario. There are various ways that website backups can be automated, from server-level backups through platforms such as cPanel to application-level backups from plugins such as UpdraftPlus.
2. Automating website updates
Website software updates need to be performed routinely to keep a site working optimally, and to prevent any vulnerabilities from occurring due to outdated software. The software elements that power a website — including CMS files, theme files and plugins — are regularly updated to ensure their optimal compatibility on the web.
While performing these tasks is commonly something taken care of by a provider of website management services, there are methods by which these tasks can be automated. For example, WordPress provides the option to allow new CMS releases to be installed automatically, and the same is true for most WordPress plugins. If you opt to enable this type of automation, it’s essential to have recent backup files in place to recover from if something were to go wrong.
3. Scheduling social media posts in advance
Maintaining a strong, active social media presence provides huge benefits for businesses. Consumer and business audiences spend so much time engaged with social media content, whether on LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter, and investing in providing high-quality content in those places is a powerful way to engage and expand your audience.
Social media marketing requires both strategic planning and active management of your social presence. While strategy and planning requires careful thought to get right, it’s possible to save a substantial amount of time on actually posting the content by automating and scheduling in advance.
There are numerous tools out there, including Sendible and Buffer, that can be connected to all your social accounts to manage your social presence from a unified platform. These tools make it easy for you to publish a post to different social platforms at once, and to schedule out your social content far in advance. So rather than having to log in multiple times per day to post, you can simply plan and schedule an entire month of content at once, saving a significant amount of time each week.
It’s still recommended that you regularly check in on any engagement on your posts, but scheduling in advance can save several hours of time every week.
4. Automating customer service using AI chatbots
Customer service can be an extremely costly function for many businesses. And while in the past this has required human staff members actively taking calls and emails, AI technology has allowed many of these tasks to be automated. There are now AI chatbot software options available that allow customers to engage with a website’s live chat function as if it were a human. These AI chatbots are trained to answer the most common questions that customers have, and can provide automated responses to answer queries without any human involvement.
5. Using Zapier or Make to automate any other tasks
There are versatile tools available such as Zapier and Make that allow you to automate almost every aspect of your business. These platforms work by connecting various different platforms and automating the processes between them.
For example, perhaps you would like new website form submissions to be automatically added to your Salesforce CRM. Or perhaps you would like a new video to be automatically posted to YouTube and Vimeo once it’s been uploaded to a Dropbox folder. With these automation platforms, the possibilities are limitless. Take a look into the available integrations for the software your business uses to see what time can be saved.
As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities to automate your business and streamline your workflows. And with new tools popping up all the time, technology will continue to revolutionize the way we run our businesses.
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Photo by Jessica Lewis via Pexels.com
Christian is a content strategist and web designer from Scotland, UK. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh Business School and went on to set up his own marketing agency, Prime Digital.