Can you believe that 2011 is already coming to a close? 2012 is right around the corner. December is always a time for finishing up any work for the year and enjoying the holidays. One thing that separates the best website designers, developers, and writers from the average ones is planning for the coming year. The best process for new year planning is to start with evaluating what worked and what didn’t during the previous year, researching what’s new in your industry, and coming up with a list of ideas for how you can take your website to the next level. In this article we will provide a list of 20 new year resolution ideas for becoming a better website designer, developer, or writer.
1. Collect Feedback
Find someone who you respect and trust within your field and ask him/her to review a few examples of your work and provide you with feedback on how you can take your craft to the next level.
2. Develop a Marketing Plan
Marketing is critical to having success as a website owner. Most website owners don’t spend enough time thinking about how they can better market their website. The beginning of the year is as good a time as any to take a few hours to come up with some creative marketing tactics to try during 2012.
3. Create and Analyze Reports on Website Traffic
Even though reporting tools have become more robust and easier to use over the years, many of us don’t like to take the time to use the tools on a regular basis. We can learn a lot from analyzing our website data. Take some time to think through what data would be helpful for your website, create some reports around that data, and analyze the reports to learn how you can attract even more visitors.
4. Buy Software
Sometimes it takes spending a little money in order to provide a better quality product to your website visitors. Is there software out there that you know can help you improve your website? Save up and buy it. Spending a little money can go a long way.
5. Evaluate Your Website
Take some time to go through every section within every page of your website. Make sure everything is still relevant and up-to-date. Have things changed within your industry? Are you noticing any trends with your visitors? Be honest with your evaluation and come up with a list of things that you can do to improve your site.
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6. Hire an Intern
Are there tasks that you keep putting off because they are lower on your priority list and you just can’t find the time to get to them? How about hiring an intern to help you complete those outstanding tasks? You might be able to find a student who needs to get an internship for school credit, which means you don’t have to spend any money. If not, you can probably find some help for a lower hourly rate than you would if you hired an outside contractor or part-time employee. Interns can be extremely beneficial.
7. Take a Risk
Is there something new that you’ve been looking to try or talk about, but until now you haven’t wanted to “rock the boat”? Now is the time to take a risk. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone and see what the results are. Who knows, you might find that your audience has been waiting for you to do it for a long time.
8. Survey Your Website Visitors
Without your visitors you have no website. Find what they are looking for. Get feedback on your current website. Ask if there’s anything that you can add that they might find beneficial. People like when someone asks their opinion. Make your readers feel important by asking for their thoughts on your website.
9. Social Media is Your Friend
Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter have done wonders for website owners. Use social media to share links to your website with your online audience. The more you use social media the more traffic you’ll see to your website.
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10. Set Up a Partnership
Is there someone in your industry who you think can compliment your website and provide more value to your visitors than you might be able to do alone? Are you a great writer, but your design skills are average? Are your design skills top notch, but writing code isn’t your thing? Perhaps you can find someone who has stronger skills in one area, but is lacking skills in the area that you’re strong in. Reach out to him/her to see if you might be able to collaborate on a project or two.
11. Join Groups
There are groups of people who get together to share ideas and discuss new trends within every industry. Find some local groups that you can join. Sometimes talking with other people within your industry can help you come up with new ideas for your website. Groups are also a way to increase website traffic and collect feedback on your website.
12. Add a Blog or Write More Articles
Blogging is a GREAT way to attract new visitors to your website. Each article can be optimized for search by adding keywords and inbound links. If you don’t already have a blog, add one. If you have one, try to write more articles each week. The more valuable content you produce, the more traffic you will get to your website.
13. Say Thank You
Again, without your regular website visitors you can’t have a successful website. Make sure your visitors know just how much you appreciate them. Post a message to your website. Put together a HTML email saying thank you. If you sell a product or service, give them a ‘Thank You’ discount. Let your visitors know just how much they mean to you.
14. Do More
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I know I can take this website to the next level if I just had a little more time to spend on it”? If so, then start spending more time on it. Get up a little earlier. Stay up a little later. FIND THE TIME to do more with your website.
15. Take a Class
Even the best designers, developers, and writers can improve. In today’s world things are constantly changing. Search class listings from local community colleges or search for online classes that cover a topic that you think can help you improve your skills.
16. Use Video
The costs and time associated with creating online video are both coming down. New technologies are allowing more people to create informative videos about any topic. Videos are more engaging than text. Websites that incorporate video into their structure usually do better than ones that neglect online video.
17. Teach a Class
Is there a community college in your local area? If so, you should sign-up to teach a class about website designing, website development, or writing. Teaching can be an extremely fulfilling service. It may even help you improve your craft. As you create lesson plans and think through different areas of your craft it may spark new ideas for how you do what you do.
18. Write an Ebook
Ebooks are great for positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. They are also great for SEO. Think about a topic that you can provide new insight on and start writing. It doesn’t have to be 100 pages. It might only be 5 or 6. What’s important is providing a new or different take on the topic that you choose. Once it’s written then make it downloadable from your website. Collect personal information from those who download it, so that you can contact them in future.
19. Create a Mobile Website
With more and more people using smart phones it’s critical that you have a mobile version of your website. Take some time to create a mobile version of your site. Your website visitors will really appreciate it.
20. Get Started
Don’t put this off any longer. Start coming up with your own list of new year resolution ideas. Once you have a list created, prioritize each item on the list and then start working down the list. By this time next year you will be amazed at how much you accomplished!
Have you started putting together a list of new year resolutions? What’s on your list? Leave a comment below.
Ryan Taft is a twenty-something entrepreneur with a passion for helping small businesses use online marketing tools to reach more customers and prospects, build relationships with those folks, and ultimately grow sales.