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5 Ways To Boost Your Website’s Success In 2017

5 Ways To Boost Your Website’s Success In 2017
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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!

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Featured photo credit: iStock via istockphoto.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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