Here's a post I wrote a while back that I want to reprise for the start of 2010. It's still the same message: take action now!
Why should you care about your website strategy? Wouldn't it be easier just to put up a website and hope you hit on something that makes you money? If you're like hundreds of thousands of other online business owners, that's probably what you did. But now it's time to re-assess the results and develop a strategy that will increase revenue consistently.
Decide what Business you are in NOW
When you put up your first website, it was a snapshot of your business at that point in time. As your business evolves your website should reflect that. Have you added new and different products? Have you changed the focus of your services? Like websites, the businesses they support are organic. They grow and change. Your strategy for meeting those goals and objectives must change with it. Adding content piecemeal is necessary to keep your site updated, but at some point during each year you need to re-assess the big picture.
Take Action: Make time to sit down with your key staff and review what your main business is today. Don’t cling to old notions about what it was or should be. Decide what it IS. Make sure that you are taking advantage of opportunities that will propel your business to the next level.
Analyze your Website Content
Does your content match your current goals? I recommend using a tool called a Mind Map (developed by Tony Buzan) to analyze your website. But you can use any tool that allows you create a map showing all the main branches on your home page. The key here is to strip away the graphics and really look at your content and navigation path. Don’t be distracted by pretty colors and pictures.
Take Action: Create a specific path on your home page for visitors to “walk” For example, if the main goal of your website is to get visitors to call, don’t put up extraneous links to distract them. You want to them to write down your phone number and call you. Everything on your home page should support that! An 800 number in the banner area is a great idea. Links to books they should read on the subject is not.
Compare the Competition
It’s always a good idea to look at what the competition is doing on their website. Create maps for their home pages as well. But don’t assume that because they are bigger, that their website has a better strategy. Deep marketing pockets can often mask website failures.
Compare your maps and see what emphasis the competition places on their home page. Do they focus heavily on promotions? Are they using free content to attract visitors? Note the best strategies and see how they apply to you. But have confidence that your content has value.
Revise and Test
Be prepared to change your home page content based on what you learned. Be bold, try new things. But be sure you test what you’ve done. You don’t want to change something that was working. Your webmaster should be providing you with the statistics you need to test and revise.
Carefully analyze the changes you’ve made. Use the best website analysis tool you can. Make sure you know what kind of content generates sales. Then pour it on and watch your revenue grow consistently!