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Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.

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Your Website: 3 Key Things to Review For The New Year

Your Website: 3 Key Things to Review For The New Year

Photo by Marc Roberts / Flickr

Photo by Marc Roberts / Flickr

THE Web, the website design industry and your website is ever-evolving. Staying on top of it is hard to do. But at the beginning of the year (ideally all year), it’s good practice to review and evaluate your website.

In my case, I finally made the time to update my website and add a few new pieces to my portfolio such as this book, this maquettethis website, this website and this website. I have a few more to add but at least now I’m feeling less embarrassed.

Addressing an outdated portfolio is just one of the things I’ve done in the past several days to freshen things up and here are a few more important website details I’ll review and address in the next several weeks:

1. Information

Content, baby! Goals evolve, plans change and you’ve discovered a lot of things in the last year. I know I have! I’m pretty happy with most of the copy and information on my website but I’m thinking I need to provide more helpful information that people seem to ask about or look for on my website. Things such as pricing, a clearer idea of process (less jargon) and availability. This is at the top of my list because making it easy for people to find the information they want and need to make an informed decision is gold. Is your content easy to find? Is it useful? Have you explained things clearly enough? (Related: Hire a copywriter — check.)

2. Blogging

Some people believe that blogging is on the outs but I still believe in the power of blogs especially if there is great content. Mine, I admit, has been pretty lame over the past few years (cringe) but I’m back in the game and ready to write! If you’re like me and you’ve fallen off the blogging wagon or you are just starting out, start small (1 x every 2 weeks) and be consistent (e.g. every Tuesday). Blogging really does work to give people a bit more insight into you, your thinking and interests. People hire people. Give them a chance to latch on to you.

3. Analytics: SEO, Links, Page Speed

SEO has a lot of moving parts but here are a few of the things I pay special attention to for my website. (There's a lot in this nugget!) I start off by checking my Google Analytics (or Clicky) to find out which pages are getting the most traffic, where people “bounce”  plus Google’s Webmaster Tools to see if I have broken links (I usually do — eep!). Fixing the links is a major priority. No one likes a 404 page. I also take the time to review my page descriptions, image file names and page titles to make sure they are right in line to attract the people and work I want. Page speed is also good to review especially given the rise of mobile use.

And three important steps to help keep you sane all year …

Schedule Time

Now, trying to do all the above all at once in one sitting will probably make you batty. So, break it up into chunks but give yourself deadlines and stick to them. I try by scheduling a day per week to do just three-to-five things. For me, fixing things like broken links and redirects can feel so tedious so I approach it like data entry for bookkeeping (ick): set an hour each day to chip away slowly but surely. If the bar is lower, you may feel better at having completed the task or doing more than you set out to do — mind tricks!

Keep a “Notebook”

Paper and pen or tools such as Evernote, ToDoIst, Notability or your favorite note-taking app is a  great way to track ideas, keep drafts,  images, resources, etc. I use Evernote because when I'm online, I can clip from any of my devices and when I'm offline I can still take notes! It's seamless and simple. You could also use Pocket or Instapaper (I do) to keep articles about SEO or ways to shape up your copy. Do what works for you and really, what feels good and easy. If it isn’t easy, it feels hard and you probably won’t do  it. Am I right? 

Editorial Calendar

Break out a calendar, grab your notebook of blog post ideas and plot them out. Set up alarms and try try not to wait until the last minute. Last minute is soooo stressful! Remember that notebook? Use that puppy. Sunrise, is my calendar of choice. It has my gmail calendar and my Apple calendar all in one tidy place. If you have time to write a bunch of posts, schedule them to post ahead of time. It works great for when you’re away at a conference or perhaps overseas and ideally on vaca!

Sometimes your website can be the last thing on your list of things to-do but your website can be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Care for it and it will help you grow.

So … what about you?

What website tweaks do you plan to make?

What tools do you use? Do you have any questions? I’d love to hear.

California Sunday Magazine Looking for Photographers, Illustrators and Writers

California Sunday Magazine Looking for Photographers, Illustrators and Writers

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