Your Website, the Year’s End, and the New Year

We talked about Pros and Cons of a “Holiday Look” for Your Website. The end of the year and the beginning of the new year is a bit different. You’ve already decided if you’re going to create a holiday look, and if so, probably have that up and running. Or you decided not to, which is fine. For many of us, the turning of the year brings about the desire to be a bit more introspective. We often want to look back at what worked and make plans for the future. This may come in the form of goals. If goals make you uncomfortable or you find you rarely achieve them you might want to start thinking in terms of projects to get done and see if that works better.

Reflecting on your website

As you get ready to move into the new year, create some time to just reflect on your website. Ask yourself questions like:
  1. Did it do what i expected?
  2. Did it do what I hoped?
  3. What surprises happened?
  4. What problems did I solve about it?
  5. What problems did I solve with it?
  6. What would I want my site to do differently in the coming year?
Although number six  is probably the most important, the first five are important too because the set up the context for six. You might want to make some notes as you’re thinking about these, but be gentle with yourself. Your website is a project – a good one and worth working  on, but not worth beating yourself up about by any means.

Take a close look at your website

In another session, spend between 15 minutes and an hour going slowly through your site. Look at every page and click every link. How long it will take you depends on how big it is. The goal in this session of reflection is to decide what’s working and find what isn’t. Start with your home page. This is the most important page on your whole site because it’s where most people enter. The article, A Blueprint for Building a Great Home Page, can guide you toward a stellar home page. If you don’t have your multiple listing or idx feed showing on your home page this is a great time to set that up. It’s been shown over and over again that potential buyers love doing searches for homes – you want them to be able to do that from your site easily. If all you do is improve your home page, that may be enough, at least for the first session. Don’t ignore your other pages. While improving your home page is worth doing, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your other pages. In another session or two check each and every page. Click every link to be sure it still goes where intended. Don’t be surprised to find some may have changed or disappeared altogether. You can either make corrections and clarifications as you go, or make a list to use later. Eliminate what isn’t working. There are lots of ways a website can eat time. Ask yourself if there are some high maintenance items that you can let go of.  A blog is an obvious example. If you, like so many, started one and have let it languish, the chances are you can let it go completely, or at least until you get some help or find another way to get it done easily. The same thing is true for community calendars. Far better that you link to a good one than you fail to update one you’ve been trying to keep.

Do some dreaming

Finally, before the month is over, take some time to just dream about what you’d like your website to look like, and offer. Maybe there’s a series of articles you’d like to add or have someone write for you. It could be it’s time for you to invest in a personal logo, or a new , professional photo of you or even several. Perhaps you found a community resource you’ve been meaning to link to but just haven’t gotten around to. Any of these things and many more can be added to your wish list for your site. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Maybe you can find an intern through a local high school or community college that is web savvy enough to help. You can find writers through your local craigslist.com that can create the articles you want. You won’t have to pay a fortune, but be prepared to pay reasonably well – rates vary depending on what part of the country you’re in – you will get what you pay for. Your website is out there offering you to be of service to existing and potential clients. The end of the year and beginning of the next is a great time to do some fine tuning. If you’ve got questions about how to make needed changes, ask here and we’ll get you answers.
Anne Wayman real estate writer