The year is nearly over, Christmas is done and there’s this strange week before the new year where you don’t know what day it is. This is a perfect time to think about your business and your goals for 2017. Planning is everything when it comes to digital marketing. Instead of off the cuff, rash decisions based on your mood of the day, set your objectives well in advance.

You should plan everything from your social media to your paid advertising. But today I’m going to give you some key objectives to set yourself to get the most of out your website in the new year.

Write 12 blog posts

Write down 12 blog post headlines right now. One for every month of the year. Think about your target audience and how you can help them with a blog post. Perhaps even specifically for that month. A summer post, a christmas post, a new years resolution post dare I say…. You don’t have to write the actual post now and you can certainly do more than 12, but this is setting your minimum goal. Setting the topics now lets you consider your audience broadly rather than what you happened to encounter or read about that day.

Regular new content on your website can dramatically improve your website rankings and over time will grow your organic search rankings for a wide range of search terms.

Don’t use clickbait titles

Those annoying blog posts that you see on social media that make you want to click them to find out the answer. As you would already know, nobody likes them. They do nothing for your credibility. To makes things worse though, most people click back straight away as soon as they have skimmed and found the answer they wanted. This means a high bounce rate. This means Google can see people aren’t hanging around on your website. This means your website is deemed as not authoritative and won’t rank as well as it could.

Everything will have a call to action

Never leave your website users in a dead end. At the end of every page and every blog post tell your users exactly what you want them to do.

It’s also important that your call to action stands out. Usually a button in a different colour to the rest of the page. The text used should be action orientated such as ‘get this’ or ‘download this’ or ‘help my business’.

Create a lead magnet

What does your website have that would encourage users to leave their contact details? If it’s all about you, you’re doing it wrong. You might attract customers that are ready to buy right now, but that’s a small percentage. To broaden your lead funnel you should have some piece of remarkable content that requires a user to provide their email address to access. The catch is it has to be worth it. It could be an e-book, a step by step guide, a video or an online tool. It has to be something compelling enough for the user to cough up their contact details, knowing full well they will probably be marketed to shortly after.

If you are writing blogs already, take a look at what the most popular articles were and repurpose and extend it into an e-book.

Secure your website

I like to change my passwords at the start of the year. I should probably do it more often but figure every year is good enough. Make sure your passwords are strong. Especially when related to your website login, and when you can easily save the password in your web browser.

Make sure your website plugins and themes are up to date and either set yourself a plan to update your website at least every week, or pay someone to do it for you. A website is a big investment and the heart of many businesses so don’t risk it by having an out of date website that gets hacked.

Consider installing a security plugin like iThemes Security to take things further with locking your website down.

Plan and achieve in 2017

These are all very achievable tasks that many just don’t get done when working hard throughout the year. But they are so important to your business success online. If you are having trouble getting to jobs like this, consider hiring someone to write you that blog, create that lead magnet or secure your website. I can assure you it’s worth it.