People start web site redesign for many reasons. Sadly, sometimes it is hard to formulate the right reasons to start a complex project to overhaul your website. This is why the task is so hard - we know subconsciously that there is something wrong with the site, but have trouble putting it in words. Often website owners say they "do not like the site." Well, that is a little generic, isn't it? Then, they come back with, "This green border color is just terrible." Ok, getting warmer, but not quite hot yet. Finally, "I just want them to sign up!" A-ha! Now we are talking. Fundamentally, dissatisfaction with a website stems from the feeling that it is useless for your business. Many website owners feel that they have to have a website because everyone does, but the site does not bring any value. Of course, if you put some thought into creating your website and plan for it to be useful, you will be more satisfied with it because you will be able to see the value.
If you followed our plan, you have been on PPC and SEO track for most of the year after your PPC and SEO audit in the first quarter. Your tracking is adequate and you are targeting the right visitors as a result of Analytics and Usability audit in the second quarter. You completed Content Audit and Administrative Cleanup; your kitchen is clean and creativity flows in the right direction. You say, what else is there? I have audited everything I can. Can't I rest already? No rest. There are two important audits left. The holiday season is making the fourth quarter the shortest of all. That is why you have to be very efficient with the last two audits. And it is important you do not skip them. In the fourth quarter we will do a Social Audit and Year End audit.
Content is what attracts people to your website. Content is what impresses people into becoming your customers. Content is what you use to communicate your message to your audience. But you already knew that. Yet, often websites resemble and old closet where things collect, multiply and grow until we stare in horror at a big tangled mess. In order not to get to that point, it is a good idea to clean up your content at least once a year. Your efforts in the last 6 months helped you focus on your company goals, vision, and priorities. You have an idea what your audience wants, you know how to attract them to the website and how to measure your progress. All that thanks to the SEO and PPC audits you did in the first quarter and the Analytics and Usability audits finished in the second quarter. Time to put your discoveries to good work and rock your Content Audit.
Are you busy? Yeah, who isn't? There is always more to do than it is possible to do. The reality is that many tasks will remain undone. I often hear, "if I could only get out of the weeds..." or "I should have remembered to do that...". And you would have remembered to do that if you focused on priority tasks. The reason you might be so busy is that you are doing busy work. Step back once in a while, evaluate your progress, see the big picture, visualize the path to your goal. When you do that, you can see clearly how the marketing pieces fit in your plan. Some tasks may have become outdated and you haven't noticed. Some issues might have become a priority while you were not looking. You need to stop what you are doing at least once a year, look at the forest and determine if all the trees belong there. If you went through your PPC and SEO annual evaluation in the first quarter, you have a good understanding of where your efforts are and what needs to be done. You know what your goals are for both SEO and PPC and you have created projects and tasks to achive those goals. Now, how would you know if you are successful? That's right - look at your analytics. Therefore, next up - your annual analytics audit.
What comes to mind when you hear "spring cleaning"? I bet, not your website. You think of closets, windows, furniture and what you will have to move. You anticipate trash, donations, and stuff you will keep. Websites are no different, however. Yet, it is not often that people think about spring cleaning a website. And they should. Evaluating your online performance once a year helps ensure that you maintain focus, your online presence is connected to your business goals, and all programs are current. In a series of 4 posts I will share my recipe for website spring cleaning - what to check up on yearly. There is no need to do the cleanup all at once. Split the project in 4 parts and do one section each quarter. These guidelines are by no means comprehensive. I covered the most important aspects of audits. If you have time for deeper inspections, I highly recommend you go for it. The purpose of yearly evaluation is to step back and look at your marketing efforts with your business hat on. Is everything in your PPC, SEO, and website world in line with your business goals? When business changes happened, did they propagate to your website and your marketing strategies? Review your priorities and communicate them to your organization.