The weather might not be playing ball, but nonetheless spring is well and truly upon us. The dark times of winter will soon become little more than a dismal memory... Well, that’s the theory anyway! All of this ‘starting afresh’ creates the perfect motivation to undertake some much needed business spring cleaning; to get your house in order; and to tackle those essential tasks which are so often swept under the rug, in favour of more immediate concerns. Here's some motivation to get spring cleaning.
A LITTLE SEO BRUSH UP
In terms of search engine optimisation, a season may as well be a lifetime. Things move so fast that taking your eye off the ball, for even a few months, can leave you significantly behind in the times.
Do not be ashamed if you fall into this category, most people do; now is a great chance to spend a few hours sifting through recent commentary and analysis to bring you back up to speed.
It is with more conviction than ever before that we implore you to make this part of your business spring clean, since one of the biggest changes ever to come to search engine optimisation, is just around the corner.
As of the 21st April 2015 the world’s largest search engine Google, is to begin incorporating ‘mobile optimisation’ as a major ranking signal, into its search algorithm.
Put simply this means that starting on April 21st, web pages which are well optimised for viewing on a mobile device will be given a higher level of precedence than those which are not, when a Google search has been made on a mobile device.
This is going to have a very significant impact on an enormous number of businesses, but for you, whether this impact is positive or negative is still not decided. Assessing your mobile SEO is very straightforward and Google has released an extremely informative mobile guide to help you make some improvements ahead of April 21st.
SWEEP UP THE TRIMMINGS
Throughout the year, it’s very easy become set in your ways; completing the same tasks as a matter of routine without actually evaluating their benefits to your business. Spring offers a great opportunity to re-examine your day-to-day business practices and amend or eliminate those which are not delivering the benefits they should.
A simple example of this might be your business blog; for many an essential element of digital marketing, but one which is susceptible to this kind of habitual devaluation.
Revisit your motivations for maintaining a blog and assess whether your current efforts are performing against your expectations. There are great analytics tools to help give you a sense of how well received your work is being, and plenty of ways to reinvigorate your efforts should the results be less than expected.
A good place to start is to examine how you are managing your blog, as well as the ways that you are presenting it to your target audience. There is little room for sentimentality when it comes to this activity; blogging is such a time consuming activity that you must be able to justify the expenditure of time and effort.
But you needn’t simply focus on the major time consuming activities like blogging, there will always be a multitude of activities that could be made more effective and lean with a little creative analysis. Small changes can make all the difference, and when you see the fruits of your labours, this can help to spur you on to make further improvements.
POLISH UP YOUR MISSION STATEMENT
When was the last time you took a critical look at your business’ mission statement? Do you even have one?
Regardless of whether or not you do, there will undoubtedly be a phrase or sentence which you regularly use as the descriptive backbone of your venture… even if it is in your own head.
By their very nature, businesses are unstable and dynamic; this is particularly true of startups and those in the early stages of growth, as they bend and flex their way into a comfortable and lucrative position within the market. We have experienced this first hand at Startacus at least a dozen times, and each time we revisit the continuing relevance of our mission statement, I am amazed by how much a business can develop and ‘pivot’ within a relatively short space of time.
This is a good way of officially acknowledging the transitory nature of your business, which not only allows clients and customers to clearly understand the current state of things, but can have a unifying influence across all of your activities. Changes in the trajectory of your enterprise can happen so slowly, and by such small degrees, that you scarcely register them happening; revisiting your mission statement can really help put your progress / development into perspective.
GIVE THE PLACE A LICK OF PAINT
Not literally of course, your coworking neighbours might not approve of your colour choice, but there are plenty of ways to apply a metaphorical lick of paint right across your business. Over time it is only natural that you will become somewhat unenthused by the overall branding of your enterprise. That’s not to say that you need to completely rethink your entire design (of course you can if you like) but minor changes really can help to reinvigorate the business aesthetics and give you a fresh new perspective on it.
Playing around with the layout of your website and brightening it up with some new images or colour schemes is a really inexpensive and simple way to make a significant impact that can be easily reversed if necessary.
Even if these small changes go unnoticed by others, you will get a sense of satisfaction from completing them, which should help blow away some of the cobwebs left behind by the long dark winter months.
Eoin O'Hara is a business developer at Startacus.net. He has a background combining arts and culture with strategic business development, and now plays a central role in the growth of the Startacus brand. Startacus.net, The Self Start Society, is the place for enterprising people to learn, share, connect and bring ideas to life. Follow them at @Iamstartacus