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Making New Year’s Resolutions For Your Website That Work

By Julie Neidlinger on December 27, 2012 in News.

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions for your website?

The thought of tightening the belt during the holiday season sounds like a bad idea. If there was ever a time we let things go — food, finances, diet, will power — it’s during the end of the year when holiday after holiday hit. New Year’s Resolutions are often an unfortunate reaction to end-of-the year irresponsibility instead of a genuine thoughtful reboot. They could be more than a mere reaction and an opportunity to start fresh.

Take your website, for example. Is it time to declare website bankruptcy, or do you just need to make adjustments?

A new year is a chance to re-evaluate your website and decide what needs to be changed. While you can do that at any time of the year, an “official” new year is a not-so subtle kick in the pants to rethink all of the things that you’ve let slide or accumulate on your website the previous 12 months.  Here are seven things you can resolve to improve or change on your site for the coming new year.

1. Blog More

It goes without saying, but you likely should be blogging more, and keeping it up through the year. It’s not at all uncommon to see lots of posts in January, a few less in February, seriously dwindling in July, and on the wane until November when, perhaps, a flurry of trying to cash in on the holidays might inspire more.

It’s important to make an increase that you can maintain (with work and effort) and blog steady all year long. Make it a team blog if you must.

Do This: Add an extra blog post a week, or two extra posts a month, to your regular blogging routine. And, if you don’t have a blog, add one.

2. Update Your Content

Old content = dead site.

Yes, blogging means you’ll have new content on your site, but you probably have other content outside of the blog that needs updating. Landing pages, “static” pages (like “about” pages), team bios, product and service offerings, pricing — these need constant updating! Just because it’s non-blog content doesn’t mean you can set it and forget it.

Do This: Rework your about pages and edit out the unimportant while adding relevant items from the past year.

3. Refresh Your Images

Images are imperative on a website. Images tell your story. People stop and look and stay because of images. They click on images. They read what’s near an image. Translation: your images are extremely important.

Take a look at your site. How long have you been using the same images? Are they dated? Do they seem amateur? Have your visitors seen the same images for years? Changing up your images periodically is a good idea; at least once a year it’s a must. Hire a professional photographer to take photos of your team, your facility, your products — people judge you on your images. Get a professional to make sure you have great ones.

Do This: Hire a professional to get headshots of you (and your team). Get shots of your facility and products if possible.

4. Add Video

You might have resisted having video on your website, but it’s time to give in. People want video. No matter what your brand, product, or service, you can offer something in video. Make a how-to video, showcase a product, make something that’s funny — just add video. And, again, find a professional videographer to help you if possible. High-quality media on your site never goes to waste.

Do This: Create at least one helpful video and add it to your website and YouTube channel.

5. Call To Action

When a visitor arrives at your site, how many options do they have? If you’ve given them 10 but you really hope to make a sale, you’ve given them nine options too many. It’s extremely easy, as the year progresses, to add a link or a page or an option here and there. You don’t always have time to rework your website to better integrate the new content or option, maybe, and so you patch it in and end up, at the end of the year, with no clear call to action and lots of confusing things for your visitor to be distracted by.

Do This: Pick one thing you want your visitors to do, whether it’s to make a sale or join your email list. Set up a landing page with that focus only in mind. Remove excess links on pages.

6. Get Social

Social networks are a huge driver of traffic to your site. Are you making it easy to do that?

Assuming you have a social media presence, are you making it easy for your website visitors to share your content on their social networks? Add social media buttons, links, and like boxes. Make it easy for your content to be shared.

Do This: Get Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ share buttons for your site and blog.

7. Overall Design

It’s very easy for several years to go by without considering the overall look and feel of your website, and whether the entire site needs a massive overhaul. How long has it been since you’ve looked at your website with a critical outsider’s view? How long has it been since you’ve reconsidered who your audience is and if your website design is meeting their needs? Maybe your audience has changed.

The Internet changes, and design techniques change with it. Is it time for a reboot of your site?

  • Consult a professional web designer. There’s a theme here, regarding the use of professional photographers, videographers, and designers. Some things you can do yourself, but sometimes you must use professional services.
  • Make sure your site is responsive. You want your site to be mobile-friendly for viewing on any size screen. Chances are pretty good that your audience has moved to smartphones and tablets.
  • Junk the junk. Get rid of things like Flash or other formerly popular web design techniques that aren’t in use any more. Less is more. Simplify your site.
  • Make your site SEO-driven. Think traffic, new content, and search.
  • Connect your own social accounts. Provide links to your social media properties on your site. Claim your authorship. Do what it takes to connect your full internet presence for your reader.

Great websites don’t magically happen. Even if you have a professional design and create your site, you still need to keep the content fresh. You are reponsible for making sure your site fits your audience. You are responsible for making sure your website stays great.

[Question "What one thing do you know you need to change about your website this year?"]