New Year's Resolutions--for your Website

A new look at New Year's resolutions—

The Grinch's Sleigh (Image Credit: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcfarlane-Toys-Grinch-Max-Crumpit/dp/B000UV81MS)People are funny. All of us.

That may be more obvious at New Year's than at any other time of year. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day tip between the old and the new like the Grinch's sleigh atop Mount Crumpet. One side is reflection; the other is opportunity.

So naturally, we indulge our worst behaviors while planning to change them, right?

  • Chomping lazily through sugars and carbs while resolving to diet and exercise—
  • Savoring unhealthy habits while vowing to quit smoking or drinking—
  • Spending extravagantly on holiday parties while resolving financial improvement—

You get the picture.

Resolutions make us better

We seem to need them. That's why about 132.5 million Americans—41%—make New Year's resolutions. (That's a slightly higher percentage than the number of Americans who usually vote in midterm elections.)

A Marist Poll found that "being a better person" tops the list of 2018 New Year's resolutions. Being a "better person" can mean different things, but comparing lists of the most common New Year's resolutions reveals that the favorites fall into three categories:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Fitness
  3. Prosperity

No big surprises there. Most of us—resolution makers or not—can identify. And here's the kicker: So can your website!

If your website made New Year's resolutions, what would they be?

Okay, I know—it sounds like an odd idea, but it's a good one. Go with me on this.

Computer New Year's Resolution: Get a fresher, leaner lookIf your website could make New Year's resolutions, they would probably be much the same. Think about it:

1.  Weight loss—exchange content "fat" for a fresher, leaner look.

Over time, websites get pudgy too and can suffer from content "bloat." And it's not pretty.

Information that is outdated or no longer relevant can frustrate and confuse users and may drive them away from your website—and from your business. Just like people, websites need to stay trim.

They also need a new look and fresh content. Adding fresh content to your website is one strategy you can use to improve your search rank. Updating content—especially front and main page content—triggers Google that your site is relevant and timely. In fact, experts advise that 30% of your website's pages should be new each year.

And fresh content deserves a fresh look. Visitors need a reason to come back to your website, and if nothing looks different, they may just bounce.

Resolve: shed the old, outdated, and irrelevant. Add new, fresh, content, and give your site a new look that will attract new customers in the New Year!

2.  Fitness—Tone up your website with tighter, more secure structure and navigation.

Fitness: Tighten up security and navitationWebsite design begins with a wireframe: a sketch of the site's structure. The wireframe lays out the skeleton or bones of the website. Navigation is how that website structure moves and flexes. As websites evolve, navigation can get cluttered or clumsy. Content changes, pages are added or deleted, and navigation becomes confusing or counter-intuitive.

Research shows that if visitors don't find what they want within 10-20 seconds, they usually bounce off the site.  Search engines offer so many options that visitors won't dig around in a site to find the content they want. Structuring your website with clear, intuitive navigation improves user experience and increases engagement and time on page. These, in turn, help to improve your search rank. Tightening your navigation is a strategy to help achieve that goal.

The New Year is also a good time to tone up your website security. Start by changing passwords. See our Cyber Security blog for information about choosing secure passwords. You'll also find information there about training your staff in everyday practices that help to protect your business information.

The New Year is a good time to give your website an all-over fitness check for security and performance. Check to see that security safeguards are up-to-date and operational on your data and your hosting service. Make sure your meets Google's standards for speed and standards such as EAT (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) and mobile responsiveness. As a starting point, use this Google link to test the mobile speed of your website.

Resolve: Tone up the navigation of your website, tighten your security, and analyze your site for fitness and performance.

3.  Prosperity—Increase your ROI with audience-targeted content, strategic calls to action, and economical hosting.

Prosperity: Make more money with calls to action, audience-targeted content, and economical hostingHopefully, when the books are finalized for 2017, you're happy with the bottom line. Wouldn't it be great to be even happier in 2018? You're in business to make money, and your website should be helping!

People change. Your content has to change with it, appealing to the current motivations and needs that drive customers to buy your products and services. Every piece of content on your site should be strategically designed, composed, and placed to target specific, current audience needs and motives. If you haven't done a content analysis for a while, you're probably losing customers—and losing money.

Even if you do have great content, do your site visitors know what to do with it? What would happen if you walked through a store full of beautiful merchandise, but you couldn't find any check-out counters? You might look around for a few minutes, but at some point, you'd drop the items you had gathered and walk out. Think of your website in the same terms. What do you want visitors on each page of your site to do next? Throughout your site, content should lead strategically to specific calls to action. If visitors say your site is interesting or even beautiful but leave without engaging as customers, your website isn't helping you make any money.

Does your web traffic fluctuate? Are you paying high costs for bandwidth to handle traffic that is used only a small amount of the time? If so, we may be able to help you save a lot of money on hosting. Read the details about AWS Auto-Scaling in our Web Solutions blog. Reducing costs also contributes to a better bottom line!

Resolve: Increase prosperity with audience-targeted content, strategic calls to action, and economical hosting.

Make your New Year's resolutions work—for you and your website

Of the millions of Americans who make New Year's resolutions, only about 9% actually succeed. And 40% have given up before the end of January. Sad statistics. Two reasons top the list of why people fail:

  • They fall back on old habits
  • They try to go it alone

Pretty simple, right? If you keep doing the same things, nothing changes, and making changes by yourself is tough.

But those 9% who keep their New Year's resolutions change their lives!

Think about what it could mean for your business to be in that 9%! Then call or email us, because remember—trying to go it alone is a recipe for failure.

We're here to help.

Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!