2013 Is Right Around The Corner. Are You Ready?

I know it’s a tad bit early, but I thought why not start a list of New Year’s Resolutions now?  If you want to make 2013 your biggest business year yet, I suggest you adopt some of these resolutions as your own!

Resolve To Get Your Site Ranked in the Top of the Major Search Engines:  If your site isn’t already on top of the major engines you are missing out on traffic.  Even in this rough economy people are still shopping online and in fact, people are doing more research and comparison than ever before, so in order to have a shot at that business your site needs to be ranked well so it is easy to find (and it also needs to be designed with the proper marketing techniques so that you can successfully convert those site visitors into paying customers).  If your site already ranks well, make sure you are staying current on the changes at the engines so you can hold on to those rankings and also make sure you aren’t missing out on new keyword opportunities.  Of course the foundation of all of that is making sure your site is SEO Friendly and your content is unique and high quality.

Resolve To Set up and CLAIM your Google Local listing (Google+ now): It doesn’t take long to get this done. Go to Google Maps and search for yourself (by business name and city name).  If your business is there, click to claim it.

Resolve To Stake Your Claim On Social Media:  Even if you aren’t active in social media right now, you should be at some point.  When that time comes you’ll want to make sure you have your name and/or your company name locked in.  So, start now by creating accounts for your business — using your company name or personal name — on sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Complete the profiles and be sure to link to your primary web site whenever possible. Even if you never use these social media profiles, at least you’ll know that no one else will be using your name and you are protected.  Of course, I recommend more than just reserving your profile.  I strongly advise you get active and use this as a prime marketing tool.

At a minimum I suggest:

  • Create a Facebook Fan Page.
  • Set up your Twitter account and learn how to use Twitter to grow your business (you need a strategy for building your audience and writing tweets that get people to take action)
  • Get networking on LinkedIn.
  • Explore Pinterest and determine what strategy and approach you can use to gain new followers and more traffic to your site.

Recently I’ve been preparing social media strategies for my clients to help them map out a strategy so all their social media efforts work together.  Sometimes I find people’s social media efforts are disjointed and they haven’t thought about how to make it all work together.  Taking the time to properly plan your strategy will make it easier to achieve your goals.

Resolve To Start Basic Online Reputation Management: What other people say about you and/or your company matters a lot. Bad business or product reviews can spread quickly. Use Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts/) to keep track of what people are saying about you, your company, your products, and any other important members of your staff/team.   Use it to monitor your company name, your own name, and the names of important people in your company.

Resolve To Check Your Linking Foundation: Check what links you have coming into your site and make a plan for acquiring more links (high quality links, acquired at a natural rate).  While you are at it, you should also check out your internal linking structure and make sure you have good interlinking between your pages and that you use keywords as your anchor text.

Resolve To Learn How To Use A Stats Program And Track Your Traffic:  Google Analytics is adequate for many small businesses, and it’s free. Look at what keywords are sending organic search traffic to your site. Look at what other sites are referring traffic to you. There are usually new marketing opportunities to be found in both of those data sets.  Also look at how long people are staying on your page and which pages people leave the most often.  Use this information to tweak and improve and take advantage of new opportunities.

Resolve To Review, Test, Check:  Check the overall state of the union to make sure you are going into the New Year with everything in place.  Some things to check: Review and test your contact forms on your site to make sure all is in working order.  Update your copyright and/or privacy policy statements.  Test all links on your web site (run a broken link report). Review your domain record.  Test your shopping cart.  Review your marketing plan for the year.  Take a minute to review what worked and didn’t work this year and determine what changes you need to make next year.  Ensure you have tip top security in place on your site.  Check your site load time and see what you can compress and clean up.

Resolve To Blog More: If you have a Blog make sure you learn how to get the most out of it.  If you don’t have a Blog, get one immediately and learn how to drive traffic and make money with your Blog.  Consistent blogging of high quality content can really help increase traffic and sales.

Resolve To Plan In Advance For Next Year’s Holiday Campaigns: Take a look at the holidays for the next year and start top outline an action plan to take advantage of holidays and your busiest times.  It can take some time to implement a holiday campaign, so calendar the activities in advance so the holidays don’t sneak up on you.

Resolve To Create A Weekly Work Plan: Make sure you are focusing on the right areas to grow your business or outsource them to a professional if you don’t have the time, knowledge or tools.

I find so often people scramble to ramp things up when business is down, and when business is good, they don’t think about marketing as much.  The biggest piece of wisdom I can impart on you is that success rarely happens by accident and keeping your web business going strong long term is going to take a lot of planning, strategy and organized efforts.  The sooner you can create an action plan for the items you need to take care of, the better. You are way more likely to actually get done what needs to be done if you have an organized plan.

The end of the year is typically a time for reflection and it’s also a time of renewed excitement and hope for the coming year.  So it’s the perfect time to sit down and make your resolutions.

Take a day out of the office, visit Starbucks or whatever local coffee shop you love and turn your cell phone off.  Just focus on reviewing this part year and planning for the coming year.  It’s one of the best ways to spend a day and your business next year will thank you for the time you spent now.

Happy Holidays to all and HAPPY SUCCESS PLANNING!

 

About Jennifer Horowitz

With over 13 years in the industry, Jennifer Horowitz, Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet, has amassed much knowledge and experience and has much to say about all things SEO (marketing, copywriting & social media). Always happy to share with an audience, Jenn is now a regular contributor at Level343.

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