With only a few months left in 2013, it’s time to start thinking about how your website can be better next year. We’ll outline here a number of recommendations that you can follow in order to start planning for your website’s 2014 facelift.
Start developing more original content.
You’ve heard it before: when it comes to digital marketing, content is king. According to reports, “61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content.” If you neglected to create original content for your website in 2013, take the last few months of this year to develop and queue up content (blog posts, videos, ebooks, presentations) that you can begin using on your website in 2014. These days, online consumers are spending more time than ever getting to know companies before they make purchasing decisions. Creating original content for your website can help you:
Create brand awareness
Provide value to your prospective customers
Leverage your company as an industry leader
Differentiate from competition
Your website is often the first impression online consumers will have of you. To help them understand who you are, what you do, why it matters, and why they should care, start developing new content for your website.
Start engaging with more people on social media.
Now more than ever, it’s essential that companies develop effective social media engagement strategies that will allow them to better connect with prospective customers. If you didn’t see the traffic and sales numbers you would have liked to see in 2013, it might be because you failed to truly connect with online users. In the last few months of the year, spend time being more intentional about engaging with users on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Help them understand who you are, what solutions or services you offer, and why you do what you do. It’s important that you create the perception that your company is open, transparent, and interested in communicating with current and prospective customers. Social media is a tool that will allow you to strengthen your company’s online reputation.
Study the numbers and make plans to change accordingly.
You probably set up or installed analytics on your website for a reason, but when was the last time you actually spent time looking through and interpreting the data? If you’ve been implementing the same website strategies over and over again and you’re not seeing any increases in sales or traffic, it’s time to make plans to change or update your strategies. Before entering the New Year, dedicate an afternoon or two diving into the numbers. If you need help understanding how to use Google Analytics, read through this blog post from us. In it, we cover all of the different things you can do with Google Analytics, and provide a number of additional resources that you can use to get more information on the specific topics that interest you.
Discuss specific goals with your team.
Now is a great time to sit down with your team to discuss what your goals are in relation to your website. As you prepare for 2014, you should consider asking yourself (and your team) the following questions:
What is the purpose of our website?
What are the top three goals we should always be keeping in mind when it comes to our website?
Is what we’re doing on our website helping us achieve or work toward these and other goals we have (better customer service, more sales, etc.)?
Bringing other team members into the discussion will help you get a better idea of what everyone thinks the purpose and goals of your website are—and can ultimately help you plan for an even better website in 2014.
Compile a list of other websites you like and make a note of why you like them.
If you’ve been unhappy with the design or functionality of your website, start making a list of other websites you do like in order to help you decide what updates to make in 2014. Find out what other companies in your industry are doing. Make notes about what features you like about their sites. Pay attention to things like design, usability, content, and anything else that stands out. Doing so will help you understand what it is about your website you don’t like, and will put you on the right path when it comes to making any desired changes.
Get out the calendar and start setting realistic deadlines.
One of the most important steps you can take toward updating your website for 2014 is to get out a calendar and actually set some deadlines for any and all changes you would like to make to your website. Without deadlines and plans in place to help you reach your website goals, you’ll find that making any progress is fairly difficult. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with plans or frustrated with lack of progress, work on coming up with a timeline to gradually make changes to your site. When developing your 2014 website facelift calendar, you should try to include the following:
Description of the update or change
Purpose of the update or change
Person in charge of managing the update or change
Actual deadlines (first review of changes, second revisions, final completion)
It’s also worth mentioning in this post that if you do not yet have a website for your business, now is the perfect time to set it up! To get started, the first step is to purchase a domain for your business.
What changes would you like to make to your website in 2014? Leave a comment below!