Q4 is generally the time of year when businesses brainstorm, review statistics, plan, and set goals for the next year. Each year seems to be a high-speed curveball, but you don’t want to skip this important part of business growth.
As you set your goals for next year, do you already ask the question, “How can our website support these goals?” If not, it’s a critical question to ask… otherwise you’re investing a lot of money into a pretty online boat anchor. This week we’ll cover some areas you should consider as you’re setting the goals you want your website to support next year.
Is your website still “on point”?
Step back and take a critical eye review of your website. A critical piece that is needed in order to support business goals is to have a laser focus on your target audience. If you’ve never really taken the time to figure out who your target audience is, we’ve got a tip to walk you through the basic process. Another good resource is our tip on the Secret Ingredients for a Successful Website.
Has your target market shifted at all this past year?
Stop and think about your customer. Have their needs changed over the past year? This is a good time to think about the questions that your team gets asked on the phone and during client meetings. Group and organize this information because it will help you adjust the content on your website.
Has your brand/business made adjustments?
How has your business changed over the past year? If you’ve made any adjustments in your brand, now is the time if you haven’t already put a plan in place to bring your website up to date.
Have you optimized your website?
Over the past few years, we saw some “big” things introduced into the SEO world that will play a bigger role in the coming year. The simple optimization elements will be playing a bigger role in your ranking (visibility) on Google. We’ve covered these steps over the past few months, so instead of a full repeat, here’s a handy list for you to reference:
- The top 3 technical errors (indexing, SSL, and sitemaps)
- Make sure your images have ALT tags and pages have meta descriptions
- Using headings correctly to organize the content
- Proper wording for the links in your content (this impacts ROI as well as SEO)
- Overall optimization of your site (Images, plugins, cache, and more)
Planning for improving your Core Web Vitals scores
As we talked about in our last tip, 2021 brought a big change in Google’s focus on user experience with their implementation of Core Web Vitals being a bigger part of the ranking criteria. Generally, the implementation and changes needed in order to improve your scores in this area are geeky. So, reach out to your web guru and set an appointment to have them go through the scores with you and put together a plan for the improvements.
Is your website still relevant in the online community?
You can have your content and images dialed in, but if your website looks like it was built in 1999, you’re going to be out of step, and people will perceive that you’re not a professional company. This also applies to the various things we’ve seen come and go as fads over the years. There’s a big difference between trends and fads, and the deciding factor is “does it meet your customers’ needs”.
Here are a few “fads” that we’ve seen that you should consider updating if you have them implemented on your site:
- Extensive sliders on your home page
People are coming to your website with a purpose, not to sit and look at all 10 slides on your home page slider. You are lucky if they stick around to slide 2 or 3.
- Overuse of obvious stock photos
Have you selected images carefully that truly help tell your story?
- Useless Sidebars
Sidebars are the place where too many businesses stick the ads, and other Calls to Action (CTAs) that they haven’t taken the time to work into their content correctly. There is a place for sidebars – keep them laser focused on providing additional information needed to easily navigate a section of the website.
Yes, they can increase newsletter signups, but for every sign up you receive, you’ve just irritated 10 people. Properly created CTAs within your page will accomplish your goal of signups without ticking people off. Can they be properly implemented? Yes, but with
- Not underlining links within your content
This fad came to life when style sheets allowed designers to not only change the color of links but to control whether they were underlined or not. And, it’s still prevalent! Not only is it an issue with usability, but it has also been proven to lower the interaction on a website.
Beyond fads, it’s always a good thing to consider doing a facelift on your website every 2-3 years. This doesn’t have to be a full redesign, but adjustments that help you keep up with what the online community considers current. Again, another good opportunity to sit down with your web guru and talk about overall improvements around the look and feel of your website.
Your Online Partner… for Success
If any of these ideas resonate and you don’t have a favorite web guru on speed dial, we’d love the opportunity to meet with you and look at your website – giving feedback on the important items we’ve outlined. Let’s connect for a free website review and put together a plan to help your website support your goals for next year.