2014 Resolutions for 'Net Professionals
A year of possibility is on the horizon and the savviest ‘Net professionals are those
strategizing now, determining how they can best transform their enterprises into
optimized, productive, engaging omnichannel brands or keep them that way.
2013 was a banner year for Internet professionals — no statistics are necessary (if you need some, check out the Stat Watch column in this issue). If you're like the majority of our readers, you probably worked more than ever and are starting to receive the many benefits of this digital life — greater awareness for your Web brand, deeper connections with existing consumers, and hey, a better overall professional experience too — way better than all those brick-and-mortar companies still scratching and struggling to remain relevant. 2014 promises more of the same, but you’ll need to establish resolutions to ensure that the path you take is the one most likely to result in another successful year.
Developing, operating and marketing a website is an ongoing and ever-changing process, so let your first resolution be to stay informed with Website Magazine’s coverage of all things digital in our ’Net Features blog and within our complimentary, information-packed daily newsletters on e-commerce, search marketing, social, design and more. Then, get started on the right foot in 2014, by adopting the following resolutions as your own — your websites will thank you.
Achieve Better Web Performance
Slow, unresponsive websites (or worse, site downtime) are not wholly unlike a brick-and-mortar store forcing customers out the door and locking up behind them. It might seem like a lofty goal, but avoiding website downtime outright and improving response time in general is a perfect resolution to make if you want 2014 to be your most successful year yet as an Internet professional. Take the initiative to not just load test and monitor the results under different scenarios, but actively seek out solutions that minimize performance problems — leveraging a content delivery network, caching content or implementing load sharing — to put your website on the fast track to Web success. Discover a few additional tips to optimizing Web performance at wsm.co/weekendoptimization.
Engage in Relationship Initiatives
“Link building” is so 2013. This year, resolve to focus not on acquiring links, but rather building actual relationships with the people behind the companies, brands and websites that complement but don’t compete with your own enterprise. Too often, those responsible for acquiring the citations that every website needs, take shortcuts, the easy link if you will, instead of spending the time that's required to make connections with people that ultimately result in Web-based citations of your company, its products and services. It certainly does take time, but the rewards are far more significant. Discover some practical approaches to relationship building and citation acquisition in this month’s Mastering Search column on a new approach to link building, starting on page 16.
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Increase a Key Engagement Metric
There are different types of metrics that Internet professionals should be monitoring, such as acquisition metrics (e.g. new visits or visits from particular sources) and various engagement metrics. The latter are essentially data points that reveal what users are doing on the Web property itself. Some examples include the number of pages viewed per visit or session, the bounce rate and time-on-site. When you resolve to improve these particular engagement metrics you will be making substantial improvements to your website in general. For example, if you resolve to increase time-on-site, you’ll know that when developing blog content, shorter posts won’t do but longer, more in-depth articles likely will. This will define the approach you take when engaging in many digital practices such as content marketing (see below). Make your resolutions actionable and the results will impress.
Find Your Internal Content Developer
It takes a special breed of person to be a digital content publisher — developing and marketing content to use in the acquisition and education initiatives of your customers and prospects. But that’s exactly what is needed today. Too often, however, Internet professionals believe that writing is a chore, something to either get done, or crank out quickly. The quality of the work produced, of course, says a lot about the organization producing it and the higher its quality, the better the results that will be received in the form of Web traffic, additional quality relationships and improved engagement metrics (just like the resolutions above you have hopefully agreed to adopt). Resolve not to write more, but write better, as in more in depth — adding value and providing a unique perspective.
What Does the New Year Have in Store? Share YOUR digital predictions for 2014 with the Website Magazine community on the Web.
Take the Time to Care for Yourself
You probably wouldn’t think that a self-help item would make its way into a list of resolutions for Internet professionals, but it’s really, really important. Too often, those in the digital industry work late nights and early mornings, forgo exercise for a few more social media comments, and opt for a quick (probably unhealthy) lunch just to make one more website tweak. If you’re not careful, you’ll get burned out. Challenge the status quo, and resolve to put your personal health on the same level as your website health. Take a walk, eat a salad, meditate — do whatever it takes to find balance in your personal life and it will positively impact your professional life in the form of greater creativity, focus and energy.