Five ways to prepare your website for 2012

Time for Review - ClockSo, it’s the time of year when you are picking the bones of the turkey, deciding what to buy with those gift tokens you were given and wondering how to fill your time between now and the New Year celebrations. Most of the business world is asleep, not back at work. The roads are empty and the shops are full. The TV is packed with children’s programmes and the radio is constantly reviewing the year. You are left to twiddle your thumbs. Except, of course, there is plenty you could be doing to get your online business ready for the coming 12 months. Here’s what you can do with your website now so that your business is ready for 2012.

1. Review your website content
Many websites grow and develop throughout the year resulting in articles which are simply out-of-date now, or no longer apply, or link to old information. Now is the perfect time to go back through your website and check everything is relevant and up-to-date. In particular you should check your site for missing or broken links. You can do this easily at the free W3C Link Checker. Alternatively get InSpyder Insite to check for broken links throughout your site – and also check for spelling errors too.

2. Check out the competition
Try Market Samurai For Free!Your competitors might be doing better than you online in terms of search engine ranking and visitor attraction. Start by going to Alexa and searching for your known competitors and compare their statistics with your own. However, for a thorough check use Market Samurai. This is really a keyword analysis and search engine optimization tool – but it contains a couple of useful features for spying on your competitors including the “SEO Competition” analysis and the “Rank Tracker” tool. Together they can help you understand what your competitors are doing well online and help you discover what you need to do in order to beat them.

3. Consider a re-design
Does your website look fresh, up-to-date and “with it”? Or is it “so 1990s…”? A couple of years ago black dominated the colour preference for “with it” websites; this year it has been loads of white space. Keeping up with the online fashions in design is necessary if your site is to be viewed as current. To find the trends in design for the coming year ahead, check out this blog post on Web Design Trends for 2012.

4. Plan your content
One of the biggest problems for website owners is producing content to keep their website fresh and alive. Planning content is essential to making sure you produce enough material to attract and retain readers for the year ahead. So, now that you have a bit of a lull before the New Year why not plan your content for the year ahead. To do this you can download my free “Complete Blogging System” which shows you a simple way of ensuring you produce enough ideas. Essentially this shows you how to break down any time period into individual topics and themes so you can more easily produce the content you need.

5. Get a third-party analysis
Sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees – you are simply too close to your own website to properly review it and understand whether it works as well as it might. So get someone else to look at your site and give you their view.  Other people are also looking for something to do, rather than twiddling their thumbs in this Christmas to New Year gap, so ask your friends to run through your site and let you know what they think. It could reveal things you can repair or improve ready for the year ahead. Alternatively, for a professional opinion on your website you should buy a review from Website Opinion.

So, there are five things you can do to while away the hours to improve your online business ready for the coming year ahead.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
RT @SteveHeadSpeaks: Thanks to @GuidesForBrides for having @ChrisHeadMagic at #ukwedconf @MiltonHillhotel learning from the best @grahamjon - 2 days ago
Graham Jones
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