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You’ve got a website, now what?
To create or build a website is great – congratulations – but now you need to know how to “manage website”, including your SEO, Google analytics, blog content, social media, website maintenance, and online strategy.
Whaaaa? Insert massive overwhelm here.
Here’s a quick excerpt and super helpful exercise from Chapter 1 of my book, How to Manage Your Own Website, called 5 Vital Habits to Keep Your Sanity. In my opinion, this is absolutely the best and most important first step you can take in order to manage your own website.
A habit is a pattern developed by repeating the same behavior over and over until it becomes second-nature. We know habits take discipline to create and keep, but the rewards are worth the effort.
I promise, the following 5 habits bring peace of mind, confidence and inspiration. These are the best actions you can take right now for your online business.
Dedicate 1 Hour Each Week to Your Site
TRUTH: If I could only choose one message for you to remember from this book, it’s this: You are going to have to dedicate regular and consistent time to your online business.
There’s a huge misconception that your website is an item to be checked off a to-do list, and should be so easy to manage you don’t have to think about it. In fact, there’s no difference between creating an online business and opening a new brick and mortar store!
Yes, you can absolutely do this, but let’s not underestimate the commitment. A website is an advanced tool with many moving components. To master it well will require your attention.
I’m suggesting you start with just 1 hour per week. 60 focused minutes on your website. As your online business grows, you may want to increase this as results warrant… But, 1 hour is a perfect start.
Put this hour on your calendar as a repeating appointment. Show up and be on time for yourself. Even if you just sit there and admire your website, clicking through site pages, the point is to grant the maintenance of your website a small part of your weekly schedule. If you wait, or get in the bad habit of just putting this off, you’ll forget everything you’ve learned, and you’ll find your site just sits there… getting out of date and obsolete. You’d never let a brick and mortar store just sit there, right?
Waiting is just moving backwards, and the key is to take action NOW.
A Quick Note to Perfectionists
I am a proud card-carrying member, but sometimes my standard for perfection can cause me to procrastinate – or avoid starting a project completely – if I sense I won’t achieve success immediately.
Reality check: you will not become a website ninja master in one hour.
If you choose, let’s say, to spend your hour reading this book in its entirety (an incredibly smart choice), that alone might take you several weeks, depending on how fast you read.
So, let’s first manage our expectations for how much time it will actually take you to master managing your website, as well as what you can reasonably expect to accomplish in one hour.
Managing your website is a long-term relationship. My job is to help you make it a beautifully fulfilling one. To avoid “Perfectionist Burn Out”, getting overwhelmed or losing focus, we’re gonna start with manageable, bite-sized, achievable goals.
You’re going to commit to dedicating one hour – not more – to your website. Without the commitment to this habit, I’ll be lucky if I can get you to spend even 5 minutes on your website. Isn’t that strange? But, it’s true.
Once you’ve scheduled your hour, the next step is to know what to do with that hour.
Here’s your first question: What exactly is your website for? What would it mean for you to have a “successful website”? What would make you feel like your website was the most useful tool possible? More clients? Sales, registrations, reservations or bookings, consultations, subscribers? More comments and shared blog posts?
It is essential that you define this for yourself and your business.
Here is an exercise to help prioritize your objectives. This can give you clear direction for how best to spend your time.
Exercise: Define Your Next Step
I like to do this exercise on my white board with sticky notes so I can move ideas around and edit freely… but you can write this down on paper if you prefer. Have fun with this!
Make sure you have plenty of room to be thorough and unconstrained.
1. STEP ONE
Write your top 3 (less is fine, but no more) priorities or objectives of your website, with lots of room under and around each one.
What do you want your website to produce or do?
2. STEP TWO
Under each objective, brainstorm all of the possible action items or steps that you can think of right now that might help make that objective become realized. David Allen, author of the acclaimed Getting Things Done, calls this “brain dumping”.
Take your time. Be as microscopic, granular and specific as possible (this is why you need the room). If an objective is to “Increase site traffic”, think of all of the ways you could do that.
Avoid vague language in this step. “Share more” would leave you pretty unclear as to what to do next, and might even just stress you out. How might you share more? “Share 3 new blog posts to my Facebook fan page and email subscribers” might give you more clarity and confidence. See the difference?
Don’t worry about the order, or being right or wrong, or being knowledgable. You’re just brainstorming any and every thing you can do – that you know of right now – that might relate to each objective.
Often times, what we think of as one item is actually made up of several steps. Something as simple as making your bed is actually made up of several steps, including removing the dirty sheets, doing the laundry, placing clean sheets on the bed, adding throw pillows, etc. Try to drill down to single-step actions if you can.
The point here, is that by being very specific, you will find to your delight you will actually check a LOT more items off your to-do list, and will gain substantial progress toward your objective.
3. STEP THREE
Now, looking at the action items and steps under each objective, order them in sequence of importance and reality. What are the NEXT three action steps you can take under each of your top priorities to make your objective a success?
4. STEP FOUR
Use your dedicated hour to do these. Then do the next three action items, and so on.
By being so specific and detailed in Step 2, the action items in Step 3 should be very clear and do-able. If they are not, chances are you can break your action items down even further until they are in manageable bits.
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