Get Web-Fit in 2009
Not everyone believes in the New Year’s Resolution tradition. (For example, I offered to help my wife and kids with their lists this year… not even a polite “No, thank you.”) That being said, website owners really should examine where they are, what is going on around them and then make a determined effort to be even better in the upcoming year.
Of course it’s not all about beating yourself up. This is also the time of year for web site owners to reward themselves for marketing victories in 2008. Did you progress in page rank for some key terms? Pat yourself on the back! Did you create a blog? Good job! Did you launch a successful paid search campaign? Way to go! Did you learn from an Optimizer test or two? Rockstar! On these or any of your other victories in progressing your site during 2008, congratulate yourself on a job well done!
Yet, even with that sense of past year accomplishments, there is more to do. This is also a great time of year to create that “we can do better” list for 2009. I created a quick Top 5 list for those of us who partake in this type of activity based upon some of our own recent client meetings. These may or may not be for your site but in general are good guidelines to get your list for “Get Web-Fit in 09″ jumpstarted!
- I resolve to better understand (fill in the blank) online marketing. What is it that you know you should be more aware of but just can’t find the time? Well, you realize by now that you don’t find time, you make time. Yet, it is hard to do, so let’s see if we can make it easier. What do you want to understand better? Video Marketing? Social Marketing? Need to build that Facebook, MySpace or YouTube account for your business or reps? Make better use of LinkedIn? Want to know, “What the heck is Twitter and why would one Tweet?” It’s all there waiting for you. Make a list of the top three areas of knowledge you wish to explore and then go forth and seek that knowledge by bringing it to your inbox. RSS feeds are easy to set-up and can deliver news to your doorstep just like your daily newspaper. Want to learn about Twitter, check out http://blog.twitter.com. Want to see inside the mind of the Google elite, try out feeds from Matt Cutts http://www.mattcutts.com/blog. In general, push the envelope of your own personal knowledge and grow some web muscle.
- I resolve to make 2009 the “year we use the web” for my company. This is a big statement but what does it mean? It means this. Your business has ways to use the web to save money and ways to use the web to generate revenue that you are probably unaware of. Put down on paper some business challenges whether it is sales, lead generation, hiring, training, communication inside or outside of the company, better understanding the marketplace or even keeping up with industry news. These are all issues that can be managed through the web as efficiently if not more so than in any other manner. Want to make this a group effort? Make it a team sport! Why not hold a casual meeting with your team and get their thoughts? You may be surprised. Team sports are a great way to exercise, learn skills and have fun.
- I resolve to better understand my site analytics. The purpose of your website is probably to generate business. To do that you need to attract visitors TO your site, and then conduct them THROUGH your site using your planned “calls to action.” Consider analytics review as your foundation for better fitness results in 09, just like cardio workouts for your heart. As important as it is to spend 15 minutes a day doing cardio for the body, it is equally important to the health of your site to spend 15 minutes looking at your stats. Visitors, search terms, referrers, entry pages, bounce rates, conversion rates… all of these metrics hold new ways to look at your site and new opportunities for growth. Dig in and devote yourself to this “statistical treadmill” daily and you will feel better about your site. Turn on your IPod if you must.
- I resolve to hold “ROI” as THE key performance indicator all of my web marketing efforts. What good is a workout regimen without benchmarks? Too often we still encounter activities being performed online by clients that are based more on tradition than earnings. Are you sending out email campaigns with underperforming “calls to action?” Are you content with a 60% bounce rate on your home page or an equally frightening number of abandoned shopping carts? Does your “contact us” form really work? Challenge yourself in 09 to make every page, every ad, every e-mail newsletter accountable for revenue. You can improve! It’s not magic; it’s science, math and hard work mixed with a bit of creativity.
- I resolve to find a “personal trainer” for my website when I need one. Just like our workouts, sometimes we need a coach to push us through online plateaus as well. Have you “plateaued on PPC” spending more than you want and not getting results? Hire a trainer. Look for a Google AdWords Individual and talk to them. Get references and discuss ways to spice up your campaigns. The same is true for your other marketing fronts. Is your SEO effort working? If not, bring in a gun for hire to restart the process. How about reputation management or PR? Just as an aerobics instructor may no be the best to teach you Pilates, each web discipline has individuals with unique expertise. Match the help you want with the skill they are trained in.
Of course, if you feel like improving your current site is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, then your new year could start off with the “Build a new website” task that trumps all of 1 through 5 above. We’ll write about that task and a few thoughts prior to launching that mission next week.
Happy New Year from your friends at TNI!