If you’ve been thinking about the top things you should focus on this year, apart from your financial goals, you should definitely take the time to consider what other aspects of your business could use some improvement. Below we’ve compiled a top 5 list of actions that will benefit your business in 2015.
1. Ensure your website is mobile responsive
Historically, websites have been developed based on a fixed layout for desktop viewing. This leads to problems when customers view your website on their smaller mobile devices because the image size is still fixed for large screen viewing.
Developers previously created two versions of your website; one for your desktop and one for mobile viewers. But this lead to two websites that needed to be maintained and updated – not to mention increasing the cost of development and ongoing maintenance. It also didn’t solve for devices between the mobile and desktop such as the iPad.
On the other hand, responsive design is an approach that developers take to create one piece of code (and one website) that enables the site to re-size the content and view based on the device being used.
Recently, AIMIA – the Digital Industry Association of Australia – has confirmed that around 4 out of 5 mobile phone users use their mobile to get information, visit websites or perform searches multiple times a day. That is a large statistic and is only growing in number every day. Particularly if they are visiting your unfriendly site, then going to a competitor who has already optimised their site for mobile and tablet devices.
Also with Google now promoting mobile optimised sites, if you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon and optimised your site, now is definitely the time to start thinking about it.
2. Review your website analytics and set goals
Analytics refers to your tools you can use to track how effective your website is. There are many platforms you could use for this, but the most well-known is Google Analytics.
Once GA is installed on your website, it essentially tracks all activity on your website from time spent on different pages, to the exact location they abandoned your website. Of course, you can dig a lot deeper once you know what to look for and see customer trends or opportunities that your business can exploit to expand your business.
Basic metrics you can and should track include:
- number of sessions – a session is the period of time a user is actively engaged on your website
- users on your website – the number of people (both new and returning users) that have visited your website
- page views – total number of pages viewed during the visit
- average session duration – average length of a session
- bounce rate – is the rate at which users entered your landing page and left without actually engaging anything on your website
- percentage of new sessions – an estimate of the percentage of first time visits.
Setting goals in GA refers to setting analytics goals that you’d like to achieve to track your website progress and effectiveness. If you’ve never done this before, then you’re missing out on some very important metrics that could help you improve your customers experiences.
Setting goal values to these metrics and other events on your website will allow you to track how well your website is going and to make improvements to ensure you are continually reaching your targets.
3. Start, or continue to build, your email database
One of the most valued (and under-appreciated) assets of your business is your email database of customers. These are customers who have previously purchased from you before, or have signed up to receive emails from your business.
Your email database is essentially a captive audience that have given you permission to contact them about your business. A good way to use this is to create blog posts with useful content for your customers. Not just random content, but information that your customers are looking for that you have the expertise, or knowledge, to provide. You can then expand this across different channels such as Facebook, Twitter etc. and build your reputation as a reliable industry resource.
Another idea is create a free e-book available for download on your website. This acts as a lead-bait for your customers and allows you to add their names and email addresses to your email database.
Whatever avenue you choose, make sure that the content you are providing to your customers is valuable, relevant and informative. Nothing will make them run faster away from you than shameless self-promoting spam!
4. Develop a content schedule for your website
Building a content schedule can be a little daunting if you have no idea where to start. We’ll cover a step-by-step guide in a later post, but to get you started we’ve put the three key elements you need to think about before starting:
- Understanding your sales cycle
In order to write your content, you first need to know about your customers. You should track what your lead-to-conversion cycle looks like, where your customers are coming from and identify key demographics in the timeline (such a new leads, interested prospects, new customers, returning customers, former customers etc.). These demographics will be the categories to which you allocate topics.
- Brainstorm topics and put them in your categories
Using interested prospects as the category for this example, you should brainstorm blog topics that your prospects would be interested in. From informational to research or comparison pieces, your job is to provide relevant information to that prospect to move them from a prospect to a new customer. You will need to brainstorm topics for all your categories.
- Create your content calendar
Using an actual calender, excel spreadsheet or word doc, create a calendar which shows your content scheduled into specific days. Don’t feel you need to limit your content to blog posts only. You can experiment with different mediums like videos, case studies or infographics to give your customers some variety. You should also consider how seasonal factors such as holidays may impact your schedule and adjust it accordingly.
5. Regularly review your website and its content
It is really easy to upload a lot of content onto your website then promptly forget about it, isn’t it? Everyone is guilty of doing this because content reviews aren’t the most exciting.
A regular quarterly or half yearly review of your content and your links is essential to ensuring all your information is still displaying correctly. Especially your contact forms and phone numbers since you could be missing out on business if they are not sending information correctly.
Content is also an essential asset to review as not all blog posts or website content stay relevant or correct forever – particularly with the way the internet continues to evolve and grow. You may just need to refresh your website pages, or update a particular link in a blog post but you should definitely make this a priority at least once a year.
Don’t have the time?
If you’re having trouble setting aside the time to complete all this work, you should pick one or two items to focus on throughout the year. Implementing even one of these actions should have a noticeable benefit for your your business. What are you waiting for?