All month we’ve been talking about the process of setting annual goals for a website – imagining what you’d ideally like your website to be and do and then evaluating which goals to pursue. Now it’s time to get down to business and make some decisions about 2009 goals.
Here are my suggestions for 7 New Year’s Resolutions to consider for your website.
1) Give your site a new look. If it’s been 2-3 years since you’ve changed the look of your site, it’s time. I don’t think you’ve got to have the coolest, cutting edge website on the planet, but you do want to make sure your site doesn’t look behind the times.
1b) Note to OurChurch.Com web administrators: if you are still using our Beacon Web Builder, please do yourself a favor and migrate to our NE1 Web Builder.
1c) If you want to make a good first impression, consider replacing your current static header graphic with a dynamic, animated Flash header. You can do this for a relatively inexpensive one-time fee and it really makes a big difference. (See options and examples.)
2) Update your website at least once a week. The most important aspect to your website is that it have accurate, up-to-date information on it. Resolve to update your website at least once a week. You’ll probably be most successful keeping this resolution if you schedule a specific day and time to do it.
3) Add to your web team. If you are the only one managing your website, you are probably holding back the potential of your website. We’re all limited in the amount of time we have to put into our websites, so one of the best things you can do is train and delegate some of the work to others. Perhaps there’s someone in your organization who would like to just update the photo galleries, do the sermon podcast, or manage the calendar.
4) Build community. If your website only includes information published by you, then you are missing out on the opportunity for others in your organization to contribute and interact on your website. Blogs and forums are a good way to facilitate that. For those of you who use our NE1 Web Builder, there is a comments module you can add to the bottom of any page, which can foster discussion on the content of that page.
5) Optimize for search engines. Getting your site to the first page of the search results for keywords relevant to your site is a great goal for any organization. If you are just hoping for the best when it comes to search engines, you are missing out on so much potential. If your site is for a church, school, or local business, search engine optimization (SEO) services will almost certainly more than pay for themselves with the new customers, members, and students they produce.
6) Email a newsletter. If you don’t send out a regular email newsletter, you are just hoping that people remember to come back to your site. An email newsletter is one of the few opportunities you have to proactively bring people back to your website. Your current members, visitors, or customers are the best target demographic ever, so reconnecting with them on a regular basis is one of the smartest things you could do this year.
7) Upgrade to a Custom CMS. If you built your website with a web builder like Beacon or NE1 or if you designed it yourself with HTML or software like Dreamweaver, there is a whole ‘nother level to what you could accomplish using a Content Management System (CMS). (See 9 Reasons Your Church Site Should be a CMS) In fact getting a CMS-based website will actually help you accomplish all 6 of the other suggested resolutions above.
Well, those are my suggestions. I’d love to hear the goals you’ve set for your website for 2009. Post ’em in the comments.