Originally published December 17, 2006 at LLRX.com
The end of the year is closing in fast and you will undoubtedly ready many "year in review" articles this month. Rather than writing a column referring to what we covered this past year, I want to get you thinking about next year, so you can start the year off right – with a strategic plan for your website that is integrated into other firm goals for 2007.
Reviewing Your Current Website
Hindsight is always 20/20, so – what didn’t you accomplish with your website last year? Do those unaccomplished goals still hold value within the scope of your overall marketing strategy? If so, do you want to make sure these goals figure prominently in your plans for next year?
In following with what website plans were not implemented, did you perhaps add a new feature or features that failed to generate the response you anticipated or simply did not work? To what can you attribute this lack of success?
Looking at what you have done and how your website has contributed to your overall goals and marketing efforts will help you to focus your plans for improvements and enhancements for 2007. Review all aspects of your website, from design to content to traffic statistics to clients who engaged your services through the site. Having a complete picture of what happened over the course of the last twelve months will provide you with valuable data.
The next step in this evaluation process is to draw up a short list of ideas and changes that you want to make to your website in the next year and put it aside. Then take a look at the competitive landscape that surrounds you.
Knowing what you have worked on over the last twelve months is a good starting point, but information about what your competitors have accomplished is an essential component of your future planning process. Has your competition taken specific business away from you? Is another firm or practice providing a service that is within your field of expertise? Do other firms have value-added services that you offer but have not properly communicated or marketed, or that you can enhance to extend the range of your services to clients? Remember, you do not have to be the first to offer a online service or implement a technology application (such as a blog, wiki or an extranet). The objective is to determine how to implement one or more of these applications in a manner which keeps you competitive and expands your services.
Ideas that you will want to consider include the following?
- coordinated offline and online branding
- e-mail updates on topical subject matters
- client portals
- web-based client intake forms
After taking a quick look at your competitors within the context of the "marketplace" (location, industry, etc.), you can add more context and content to your wish list of ideas to implement over the next year.