Happy New Year! Here are ten things you can do to improve your web site or blog in 2010:
1. Establish a clear purpose for your site
Why does your site exist? What’s the point? I started this site to share my knowledge about user experience, content development and web strategy. What’s the purpose of your site? Having a clear purpose will drive your overall strategy and help you make the most cost-effective design decisions.
2. Know your audience
Who visits your site, and why? Your users are the lifeblood of your web site. If they don’t visit, all you have is a dusty server somewhere on the interwebs. Have you ever asked your users what they like/don’t like about what you’re doing online? Now is a great time to ask.
3. Know your call to action
What do you want users to do on your site? Should they buy something, or signup for your monthly email newsletter? Do you communicate a clear call to action so users know specifically what to do?
4. Identify the competition
Who are your top 5-10 online competitors? Have you looked at their sites? What are they doing that you want to emulate? What are they doing that you should avoid? A competitive analysis is a great way to establish a benchmark across your market.
5. Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is a must for a blog, but it’s still a good idea even if you have a static site. Monthly or quarterly updates to a static site will give users a good reason to come back.
6. Review your site traffic
Google Analytics is free and easy to install on any web page. If you only do one thing on this list, make this it. There’s no reason not to know your site stats anymore.
7. Perform a content audit
Do you still know what’s on your site and why? Things change over time, especially if multiple people/groups are updating a web site. That can sometimes mean outdated, conflicting or incorrect content. Take a close look at what you have, what you can delete, and what you may need.
8. Improve your SEO
Do you know how your site ranks on Google and other search engines? Do your page titles have keywords in them? What about h1 tags? Google doesn’t really care about meta tags anymore. Make sure your site is optimized for SEO using the latest optimization techniques.
9. Plan for the future
What activities are happening in your business that will impact your blog or web site? For example, will you be offering a new product line in addition to consulting services, or vice versa? Do you need to integrate e-commerce into your existing site, or plan a complete site redesign? Any major changes to your business operations will likely impact your web presence. Take the time to think through these changes and plan accordingly.
10. Get help
All of these tips have two things in common – they don’t cost a dime, but they can take a lot of time. If you’re too busy to take it on yourself, there are plenty of web consultants out there who can conduct these activities for a reasonable cost. I’ll be happy to help too – just email me.
Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, safe and prosperous 2010!