Your website is likely the hardest working member of your team. And as such, it deserves to receive the same review process that you give your employees. This is a yearly opportunity to take stock of what is working and determine what needs improvement in order to facilitate future performance improvements.
To begin the review process, you have to start by having a clear understanding of what job duties your “employee” has been assigned.
The Job Description
Just as with an employee, you have to start your website’s appraisal process with a look at its job description. In the last issue, I described the two roles your website can play as an Inside Sales or an Outside Sales role. This role determines how your website functions within your larger marketing plan. So, before you sit down to criticize how your website is doing, take a minute to answer the following questions first:
- What was your overall marketing plan for the period?
- What were the goals and expectations of the website in that plan?
- What marketing tasks had you committed to do that supported the goals of the website?
Marketing tasks that would support an Outside Sales role would include: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), link building, article writing, pay-per-click, social media, and blogs. Tasks that support an Inside Sales Role include: public speaking, direct mail, yellow page ads, coupon promotions, newsletters, networking events, interviews and other PR opps, posters/flyers, social media, blogs, and surveys.
For each task, write down what your commitment for the period was and then note what was actually accomplished.
Since your website doesn’t have feelings, you can be as critical as you like without risk of offending anyone, but I’d caution you to start with what was working and move on to what needs improvement. Your website might not have feelings, but the staff that does the work behind it does!
Here are some questions to contemplate as you appraise the effectiveness of your website during this period:
- Where did we meet our expectations on marketing tasks and where did we fall short?
- Where can our marketing efforts better support the success of the website?
- Do we need to add additional functionality to the website in order to make it more successful?
- Are our follow-up systems working optimally?
The Plan for Improvement
Now that you have a clear idea of what was actually accomplished, you can make a plan to address any shortcomings and build on your successes.
If you find your website has a lot of shortcomings, you may decide that you need to “fire” your website from its job and find a more suitable replacement. Firing a website doesn’t involve hurt feelings, severance pay, unemployment, or require any notice, so don’t be afraid to drop the axe if necessary. Starting over from scratch is often easier than putting a band-aid on something that just isn’t working.
Once you’ve completed your yearly review of your website, put it on your calendar for next year. This way, you’ll remember to make the time for it. Your web presence is an important part of your business success and deserves your regular time and attention.