Ok now 2011 is over, and we are all looking for a more productive and better 2012. Let’s face it we are all due. The past few years have affected everyone in a slightly less than positive way…an understatement for sure. So let’s start with a bit of a challenge. The online landscape is ever evolving if you don’t stay on top of it then you are clearly under it and it only gets harder to catch up the further you get behind. 10 years ago it was very expensive and difficult to create a website, make it so people could find it, and manage it over its lifecycle. Those days are thankfully gone….well mostly gone. A number of agencies are starting to approach things a bit differently than the norm, they don’t want their clients to be 100% dependent on them. We like this idea and prefer to teach than to “own” every aspect of your site and make it seem like we are indispensible. We run into it all the time, agencies that keep all the keys to a clients site, domain, hosting, etc and make it sound like that is the best way to have things. Client = Child, Agency = Parent. So, back to the challenge part to this diatribe. Make 2012 the year you take control back. There are a number of parts to this and exceptions as well.
So without further delay, what you need to do in 2012;
1) Make sure you are the keeper/owner of your company/nonprofit’s domain, hosting, ecommerce….anything that has to do with your site. Laugh if you want, but we see it all the time, and then poof your site is offline because some 3rd party didn’t renew the domain. 2) Make certain your hosting service isn’t garbage; do they have 24/7 live support? How accessible are they, how helpful are they when you have question (or do they refer you to a forum everytime?) 3) If you have to call your agency or 3rd party webmaster every time you want to change a word or picture. Time to stop. If you don’t know what Content management System (CMS) your website is on then find out and learn how to use it. Oh, and if your site isn’t on WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, then time to flip to one of those options. It will be money well spent and you will be able to handle the day to day changes with only a little training. 4) Learn how to use some of the free tools out there; Google Analytics, Open Site Explorer. These will help you find out how your site is doing (traffic, links etc), and then you can decide what you need to do next to make it better. So, a couple exceptions to mention. The most successful businesses/nonprofits are the ones that manage the items listed above BUT also get help from agencies like ROI Pop. Unless you quit your current job and become a web developer or a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert you are simply not going to be able to do the more complicated elements to managing a successful web presence. The free tool s mentioned in item 4 are really designed to get you educated about where you are or how you are viewed online. Typically the next step is to hire professional help to get you where you want to be. The above list isn’t a comprehensive list either. But, we wanted to make it something that was doable this year……..unlike many of your New Year resolutions. Good luck and happy learning.