I believe the three day weekend is a huge boost to the small business owner. It certainly is for me.
It’s not because we can get away to the cabin or lake for 3 days.
It’s not because we can get together with our friends and families.
It’s not because of the BBQs, parties, the mountain bike rides or or anything like that.
It’s because we, as small business owners finally have spare time in our busy lives to attend to some issues that we normally don’t have time for. For me, I’m going to work on my new pricing model and see if I can get that finally launched. I’m also going to work on a pet project that needs some love.
For you, here’s a 10 ideas you might want to consider doing that concern your website.
For those with short attention spans here’s the TL:DR version (do you like when I do this?)
So here we go…
- Backup. Backup not only your posts (content) but also your theme, css, scripts and database. Yes, this should be done on a regular basis but there’s no better time to start doing than right now. What do you do with that backup file? Don’t store it on the same server your site lives. If you have a site meltdown, chances are your backup will also be gone too. Instead, I suggest you store that file in a separate place. Download it to your hard drive or do like I do and store it on an Amazon S3 Server. Next, make it a point to back up on a weekly basis. I offer a service that does all of this automatically ($120 a year). Interested? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Update. Recently there have been quite a few updates that have come out. Starting with the core… WordPress 4.3 “Billie” was released August 18th. But, before you do anything, Backup! – you knew that right? IMPORTANT: If you are running Genesis, there have also been a few updates there as well. If your theme files have been modified you’ll want to update Genesis first, before you update WordPress. This will preserve your modifications. Update the core, the themes and the plugins.
- Housekeeping. Now that you have everything updated take a step back and think about your plugins. Do you need all of them? Can any of them be replaced by newer and better ones? Now would be a great time to make those changes. When you do, delete the ones that you don’t use. The same goes for themes that you don’t need. Delete all but the ones you are actively using with the exception of one. Typically I leave the latest version of WordPress’ Twenty something theme (currently Twenty Fifteen). If your active theme has an issue, your site will automatically try to use this one. It’s better to have something than nothing, eh?
- Categories. Categories and Tags are part of WordPress but for many sites I see they have been misused. What happens is that when you started, you didn’t have a well thought out plan and so you started creating Categories as you went along. Now you look back and it’s a mess – right? Categories are meant to be a general way to define and sort bulk pieces of your content. Contrast that to Tags, which are meant to describe the little details of a post. Most sites would do well with just a handful of Categories. As for the Tags – feel free to go hog wild. Categories can also be nested under ‘parent’ Categories. A good example of this would be for a real estate site. It might have a ‘parent’ Category of “Neighborhoods”, with many ‘child’ Categories inside of it – as in “Sunny Acres” and “Dusty Meadows”. That kind of thing. With your free time, create a Category hierarchy of sorts and then go into your old posts and move them into the appropriate new Categories. Yes, you could pay me to do this for you (I am doing this right now for 2 clients).
- Community Pages. Speaking of Categories and that sort of thing. If you have a real estate site you should definitely have a Category of ‘Community Pages’ under which you can have as many ‘neighborhoods’ as you service. When I say neighborhood that can be a city or town, or it could be an actual neighborhood. Everyone is different. For some they split it up into cities and then split the city itself up into neighborhoods. Since you just formulated your Category strategy you’ll be all set to fire up these pages! I wrote about what makes a good community page. For sites outside of real estate (I do plenty of these too), just think outside the box and create pages around your products or services.
- About Me. Did you know your About Tab is generally the most visited page on your site? When was the last time you looked at yours with the eye of an outsider? I’ll be tending to mine as well.
- FAQ. I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I create a new site I offer to build a FAQ for the client. This isn’t just a page. It’s a custom post type. Not to get too technical but because it’s a custom post type each question and answer is it’s own ‘post’. I then create a custom site map with those individual posts and submit that (along with the regular posts and pages) to Google automatically for their spiders to crawl. Here’s the magic part. Google indexes those custom posts. The title is usually a question and the body is the answer. When someone searches Google these days they usually are speaking into their phone and asking a question. Google loves to show the most relevant content in it’s results and guess what? Your FAQ question and answer custom post type has great potential to be shown! You could create a FAQ page on your site but that doesn’t work the same. It’ll have all the questions on it whereas with a custom post type, they are all individual. Those who know a little SEO will know that the higher up in a page the keyword is the better. If you can’t create your own CPT, you could start by writing down all the questions and answers you can think of and then yes, I can add a CPT to your site too. I can also build a custom taxonomy as well – never mind I’ll explain that later.
- Newsletter. You knew I was going to get around to this one right? This would be a great time to review the whole process. How is your calls to action doing? Do you need to make changes? How about the format? How often does it go out? Did you know you can create different newsletters from different aspects of your site. The newsletters I build are all RSS driven. There’s a different RSS feed for Categories, Tags and so many other things. That means I could create a newsletter for just WordPress or just Facebook (two of my Categories). Would it be beneficial to your readers to offer something like that? You can also offer the same content daily, weekly, or monthly in much the same way. For one site I manage we have 12 different newsletters that we offer. Yes, I said TWELVE. Once we set these up it takes no additional effort on our part to produce them but we are giving the reader the option to get what they want.
- Contact Information. One of my biggest pet peaves is not being able to find a sites contact information. I’ve read your stuff, I like you, I want to do business with you and… I’ve just spent 2 minutes trying to find out where I can call, email, or tweet you. #Fail. Ever wonder how much business you’ve lost because of this? That something that keeps me up at night. Now would be a great time to fix that.
- Editorial Calendar. When you are busy one of the first things to let slip is your regular posting. I know, it happens to me. One of the best ways to combat that is to have an Editorial Calendar. What is that you ask? It’s simply a schedule that you create that will keep you on track in both timing and content. For instance I was talking to a client yesterday about this. He’s a service provider (manual labor). We’re looking at creating content that ranks well for his business and for local. We identified 4 different communities and 3 different aspects of his business that he wants to highlight. Simple math says we should create 12 different posts on a regular basis to cover each of the possible combinations, right? He has an assistant that will be writing the content. We’ve created a calendar of posts for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mondays will always be about one particular aspect of his business, Wednesdays another and so on. Each week will also be centered around those aspects within one particular community. In a month we’ll have covered all the different combinations that he wants in a neat and orderly fashion. Note: I’ve also used this method when hiring ghost writers and it works exceptionally well.
So there’s 10 different things you could be doing in your spare time. I could easily come up with another handful (like reviewing your advertising plans). What I would love to hear is what you have planned for your site or business this weekend. Let’s see what you’ve got!
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.