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5 Ways To Boost Your Website’s Success In 2017

5 Ways To Boost Your Website’s Success In 2017

The New Year is upon us which means it’s time to set some new goals for 2017. Most resolve to lose a pound or two or find a new love interest in the year to come, but as a website owner, your goals are probably centered on the success of your online business.

Whether you’re a profitable blogger or an online retailer, the success of your website relies heavily on your ability to keep up with changing online marketing trends as well as shifts in consumer needs, wants, and demands.

If you’re looking to get a leg up on the New Year by setting your goals and making a plan for success before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, you could probably stand to benefit from some helpful tips on how to boost your site’s success.

Here are five ways you can increase your site’s potential for success in the New Year.

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1. Build upon your online presence

No matter how great your product is or how much you’ve spent on designing an awesome website, none of that will matter if consumers can’t find your website. This is why it’s absolutely crucial for site owners to build and maintain an effective online presence. This will include things like keeping up on SEO to ensure consumers can find you when they search terms related to your site, establishing your brand on various social media channels, and creating and promoting quality content on your site to keep it in the public eye.

As a site owner, it will be important to track and implement consumer trends in each of these areas in 2017 to make sure you’re keeping up with the digital marketing tactics that are working and identifying ways you can implement them in your offsite and onsite strategies.

If you’re a bit new to the digital marketing world, I recommend checking out this guide which provides an excellent overview of how to build an effective online presence for your brand. Your tactics and approaches may vary with time, but focusing on the elements provided in this guide as you get started will help you move in the right direction.

2. Get to know your consumers

Whether you’re a business owner or a blogger, one of the most important things a site owner can do is to get to know the site’s consumers. What type of content does your consumer base like to see? Are there small tweaks you could make to your site to increase your ability to make an online sale? Are there any changes you could make to your product, service, or content to better meet the needs of your consumers?

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Things like A/B testing, consumer surveys, Google Analytics, and focus groups can help you get answers to these questions. You should plan to check your analytics at least every other day to identify consumer trends. As far as surveys, A/B testing, and focus groups go, trying out each of these tactics at least once throughout the course of the year could help you get the valuable insights you need to make profitable changes to your website and its offerings.

If you’ve yet to do any conversion rate optimization on your site, take a look at these simple site tweaks you can make to help you increase the rate at which your site is able to convert shoppers to customers.

3. Listen to the experts

One of the most difficult things a business owner can do is to listen to what experts in marketing and other creative areas have to say about their site. Although most business owners and bloggers understand that marketing professionals have a better grasp on marketing tactics and technical online marketing terms than they do, they often have a hard time taking new suggestions for their sites.

If you’re not working with an outside marketing pro, it’s still likely you’re neglecting what other marketing professionals have to say about the latest tactics because you’re busy working within your own company.

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You might be a bit strapped for time, but if you plan to manage any element of your site’s marketing, it’s absolutely essential that you stay up on the latest online marketing news. The field is ever-changing which means that if you miss a simple announcement from Google, you run the risk of pushing for outdated tactics that either don’t work or could leave you with a penalty.

Make a commitment to yourself to seek advice from and actually listen to experts. I recommend following a few different influencers on their blogs as well as on Twitter. Some of my favorite resources are the Moz blog, the Kissmetrics blog, and Rand Fishken’s Twitter account.

4. Re-evaluate and define key business goals

As your site grows, your goals as a business should grow along with it. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your mission statement or values to accommodate growing trends, but it does mean that you should sit down at least once a year to re-evaluate where your site is headed and what you would like to see in the coming months. Even if your site is just a small blog at this point, you should still treat it like a profitable business as you set your goals and strategize for their execution if you want to see your audience grow and your potential profits rise.

If you’re not quite sure how to evaluate your site’s annual goals like a business owner would for his or her business, check out these five tips to get started.

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5. Hold yourself accountable for change

If you’re not strategic about the way you set your goals and track your accomplishments, it’s nearly impossible to maintain full understanding of how your site is performing and what you can do to improve upon its performance. This is why it is important to set up a system for self-accountability that involves goal setting, tracking, deadlines, and evaluation.

The first step in this process is to set specific numbers and time limits for your goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to determine why and how you either did or did not reach your goals. The next step is to set processes for how and when you will track your progress. Next, you’ll want to set deadlines for your goals and be sure to mark these on your calendar with notifications that let you know when it’s time to check in on how you’re doing. Finally, you’ll want to set a system for determining your success in your final evaluation at the end of 2017.

Creating a specific process will help you hold yourself accountable for successes and failures that occur throughout the year.

The process of setting a strategy for increased site success in 2017 will be a bit lengthy, but it will be well worth it when you have a direction and focus for increased profits and audience growth in the New Year!

Featured photo credit: iStock via istockphoto.com

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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