by Karen Nierlich
2013 might be a year with “13” in it’s name, but I think most small business owners are feeling we are lucky and grateful for the improving economy. As we usher in the New Year, it’s time to do a “needs assessment” for your website and your web marketing. Our FOW Website Checklist starts with newer considerations for 2013 and then continues with questions to ask each and every year.
1. Are you mobile ready?
You’ve probably heard that mobile phone use and mobile searches for local businesses are way up and growing. The numbers are:
- 50% of Americans own a smart phone as of March 2012 and that number is trending upwards of course (Nielson)
- 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour.
- 70% of online searches result in action in one month. (Mobile Marketer, 2012)
- 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase. (Search Engine Land, 2012)
- 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call. (Google, 2012)
Does your business need a mobile version? Do you run a retail or local service business? Check out your site on a mobile phone. How does it look on a iphone or ipad?
Additional Notes: Sites rendered in Flash (popular programming language) are not well supported by mobile devices. No Apple iOS devices support Flash, and support is poor even for the competing Android and Microsoft platforms. Adobe is no longer developing Flash for mobile.
2. Does your business or organization have a Google + Local Page and is it optimized?
Google Maps Pages became Google + Local during the year. All businesses should claim their free page and add photos, logos, video and background info. This is an easy way to boost your web presence, and is particularly strong in putting your business in front of potential customers who are geographically near you. These pages can be optimized for better results in search engines.
3. Time for Website Redesign?
The Web moves quickly and even sites that are just 1 year old may be in need of an update — especially if your business or marketing has changed. If you aren’t sure, look at some of your competitors sites and ask a few trusted colleagues. Depending on the age of your site and your business goals, you may want to refresh by making some changes to the design or WordPress template or you may be ready for a new site.
4. Is it time to refresh or expand keywords on your site? Do you have a way to measure site traffic like Google Analytics?
When was the last time you reviewed the performance of the key phrases you targeted when creating the content for your site? If your industry changed a lot this year and there were many new trends, then it would be a good idea to get those newsworthy items on to your site and add the relevant keywords. If you site doesn’t get much traffic, consider adding keyword rich text to your site. You can do this by creating 10 to 30 new pages of content about specifics in your industry or by posting to a blog hosted on your site.
If you don’t know how much traffic your site gets, you’ll want to add the free Google Analytics tool. Then you’ll know when your site if visited and how they are finding you and what is viewed etc.
5. Updates Not Happening or Costly? Ready for a WordPress Conversion?
Our firm has done a ton of WordPress conversions over the last 3 years. If you have a site that you can’t update in-house, converting it to WordPress will give you password protected access from any computer and a friendly administrative tool you can learn in as few as 20 minutes. Plus it can make it easy to upload keywords, add features inexpensively, and integrate with social media.
6. Want to hear my spiel (again) on why your business needs an email newsletter? I’ve been saying this for a decade now-some of you know.
People used to think a newsletter was a lot of work. I’ll tell you folks, this is actually one of the easiest and least expensive marketing tactics I know of and it goes to the people that matter most! My mantra (one of them) is keep in touch with the folks who know and like you…they are the lifeblood of your business! Send them keen, relevant information. This is a great way to use some of the new content you may be developing for your site (se #4 above).
If you are in a business that people don’t want to learn more about, then send a combination of relevant info and fun information of general interest. Whatever you do, find a way that works for you to keep in touch with past clients, current clients, prospects and the good people in your world.
7. When did you last update your LinkedIn page and add some 2012 testimonials?
Lots of people visit your LinkedIn profile after or just before they meet you. Keep adding testimonials there. While you are at it, ask for testimonials for your Goggle + Local page. It’ll help your results on search.
8. When did you last check your site for accuracy?
Read through your whole site and have one employee or trusted colleague read through your whole site in early January. Make sure dates, prices, portfolio, and awards, etc. are up to date.
Awards getting old and no newer ones? Just remove dates. Is the headshot a reasonable likeness? Staff list up-to-date? Add a year to the copyright date on site. Don’t let your site say 2004-2010.
Got some more ideas? Please add suggestions for essential/basic things to check up on for the New Year right here.
Karen Nierlich and Full Orbit Web and Marketing are a local Web firm helping small businesses thrive in the Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Marin and San Francisco. If you have a web project or wish to have an analysis of the strengths and next steps for your web presence, call her at 510-527-9920. You can also follow FOW on Facebook or Twitter.