Your 2018 Web Marketing Plan

With the​ New Year right around the​ corner,​ we often resolve to​ improve our behavior,​ health,​ or​ personal relationships. Let me tell you,​ you're wasting your time. I'm OK,​ you're OK. It's our Web marketing that's a​ mess.

We've got out-of-shape Web sites,​ directionless Web marketing,​ and we're lost at​ the​ search engines. It's time to​ stop worrying about self-improvement and start worrying about Web marketing-improvement!

While every business has different goals and needs,​ please consider these twelve items in​ creating your own Web marketing plan for next year. Rearrange the​ order to​ fit your own schedule in​ 2018.

January: Set up a​ Web marketing budget. I know,​ this is​ your favorite part: the​ budget. However,​ once you've decided how much money you​ plan on​ spending quarterly or​ monthly,​ deciding what to​ spend your marketing dollar on​ becomes much easier. You'll also want to​ carve out some time for your Web marketing endeavors. After all,​ a​ lot of​ the​ following to-do's are more about time than money.

February: Audit your Web site (beginner.) Often we're surprised or​ dismayed at​ the​ material that's on​ our Web site: bios of​ ex-employees,​ links to​ sites that no longer exist,​ a​ 2001 pricelist. Spend some time reviewing the​ content on​ your Web site and get rid of​ anything that's out-of-date or​ no longer expresses who you​ are. Nothing turns off prospects faster than a​ neglected Web site.

March: Audit your Web site (advanced.) Review your traffic reports and decide if​ your navigation needs to​ be updated. Maybe certain parts of​ your site are getting a​ lot of​ traffic and should be further promoted on​ the​ home page. if​ other sections or​ pages are being ignored they may need to​ be removed...or promoted. Fill out all the​ Web forms (contact,​ search,​ etc.,​) and read the​ "hidden text" that appears on​ landing pages. Rewrite the​ copy that seems dated or​ incorrect.

April: Start reading blogs in​ your industry. Download a​ newsreader (I recommend NetNewsWire for Mac users) or​ set up a​ free account at​ Bloglines. to​ find blogs in​ your industry you​ can do searches at​ Technorati or​ check out BlogCatalog among others. Make sure you're reading the​ blogs of​ your competition and your clients.

May: Start your own blog. you​ knew that was coming,​ right? Blogs are becoming an​ important,​ perhaps essential,​ part of​ business communications. No matter the​ size of​ your organization,​ a​ blog can be a​ great way to​ connect with your clients...and your clients-to-be.

June: Subscribe to​ your competitors' email newsletters. This is​ a​ fantastic (usually) free resource of​ advice that is​ targeted towards your clients. Shouldn't you​ know what your competition is​ recommending? Maybe they know something you​ don't!

You probably know many of​ your competitors already and can visit their Web site to​ see if​ they offer an​ email newsletter. However,​ you​ can Google "your industry + email newsletter" to​ find some ezines that are new to​ you. (You should also be reading your clients' newsletters as​ well; you​ can't know too much about their business.)

July: Start your own email newsletter or​ jumpstart your subscriber rate. if​ you're not publishing an​ email newsletter you're missing out on​ one of​ the​ most cost-effective Web marketing tools at​ your disposal. Use an​ Email Service Provider (ESP) to​ manage your subscriber list and publish an​ ezine regularly.

If you're already publishing an​ email newsletter try some new ideas to​ increase your subscriber base . Offer a​ free article for new subscribers,​ raffle off a​ prize to​ one subscriber each month,​ or​ advertise on​ a​ complementary newsletter.

August: Troll discussion boards in​ your industry. There are discussion boards on​ every topic under the​ sun,​ and certainly a​ few in​ your industry (or your target audience's industry.) By reading posts at​ these discussion boards you​ can get an​ understanding of​ what prospects are looking for and create products or​ services that meet their needs.

By posting responses you​ can quickly establish yourself as​ an​ expert and create links that drive traffic to​ your Web site while improving your site's ranking at​ the​ search engines!

September: Start listening to​ podcasts. the​ New Oxford American Dictionary named "podcast" its 2018 word of​ the​ year,​ so maybe you​ shouldn't wait until September before you​ tune in.

Whether podcasting ever becomes a​ part of​ your Web marketing,​ it's important to​ understand how podcasting works and how other companies (including your competition) use it. Visit the​ iTunes Music Store or​ a​ podcast directory like Podcast Alley and start sampling some podcasts. Not sure where to​ start? Adam Curry's PodFinder show (available at​ the​ iTunes Music Store) highlights new podcasts each episode.

October: Consider starting your own podcast. I can't recommend podcasting for every business,​ or​ even most businesses. I still believe there are more effective ways to​ communicate with prospects and clients. However,​ some businesses will benefit from offering a​ podcast. Keep in​ mind your target audience,​ and whether they will be downloading audio to​ their computer or​ mp3 player.

November: Submit some of​ your articles to​ article directories. a​ great way to​ increase your "findability" at​ the​ search engines is​ to​ have a​ lot of​ quality incoming links. One proven method to​ do this is​ to​ have articles you've written appear on​ other Web sites that link to​ yours. to​ get your articles posted at​ other Web sites check out article directories such as​ the​ Phantom Writers and iSnare.

December: Add share this page functionality to​ some or​ all of​ your Web site. as​ people suffer from information overload,​ they rely more heavily on​ the​ recommendations of​ friends and family. Make this word-of-mouth advertising easier by allowing site visitors to​ quickly "share this page" with a​ friend or​ colleague. you​ can even include your own marketing message embedded in​ the​ email that arrives at​ the​ friends' mailbox.

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