Get Your Web Presence In Shape

As appeared in the Presence Pointers column of the January 2008 issue of “Business Watch” magazine.

So here we are and in the immortal words of John Lennon—“Another year over, and a new one just begun.” There’s something about the natural break between years that always make it a wonderful time for reflection and planning. So as you get ready for the new year to unfold… have you set any goals, made any plans, or even made any resolutions for the new year? Perhaps to get in better shape, maybe lose a little weight, improve your appearance, do more networking, get out and socialize, or improve your knowledge? Of course, I’m talking about your web presence—you’re on your own everywhere else. Seriously, why not use a little time now to make 2008 the best year online you’ve ever had? For those who still haven’t made that leap, now’s the perfect time since 2008 is a leap year.

Set Some Goals

Whether you have a website or will be planning for one, it helps to lay out some goals for the site. I know, you probably don’t like setting goals, or perhaps you don’t think you need to because they are so simple. But believe me, it won’t take long to lose sight of them or get distracted by something else if you don’t.

Do you want to drive more sales online? Do you want to drive more people to your physical store? Do you want to provide valuable information to potential or existing clients? Do you want your site to be a lead generator for your business? Do you want to improve your ranking in search engines? And the list could go on.

Evaluate Your Site

For those who do have a website, take a tour of your site, page by page, and honestly grade your site on how it is doing against your goals. Forget for a moment that you already know everything you need to know about your products or services. Forget that you know where everything is on your site. Would you still give your site the same grade?

Even better, have a friend do this exercise and see how they do. What are their challenges and complaints? Do they give the site the same grade as you? What about when you aren’t threatening them? I know it hurts, but only when you know, can your site be improved.

Plan For The Future

Now that you’ve done a little goal assessment and evaluated your existing site, if you have one, it’s time to lay some plans to get your site on the road to success. Make note of what you feel could be improved and new ideas you have. And if you don’t have one, already, start outlining what information you want to get across that meets your goals.

Okay, so this exercise should keep you plenty busy, but hopefully inside nice and warm. The good news is the whole focus here is on thinking, evaluating, and laying down ideas. You don’t have to act on anything yet…we’ll get to that next.

Get In Shape Plan

  • Write down 2-4 goals for your site.
  • Evaluate how your site is doing at meeting these goals.
  • Make note of places that are falling short, things that could be improved, ideas for new additions or things to explore this year.
  • Start thinking about what it will take to achieve your goals, fix or improve your web presence. Note which you can do and which will require assistance.
  • Prioritize your list based on what you feel is most important and achievable.