The new year is approaching and we are all ready for the holidays (at least some of us). I know that this season truly snuck up on me. I was able to get my Christmas cards out but was seriously lagging in the present preparation progress.

So, while you are taking time to relax during your vacation time, I hope you set aside time for yourself. If you can, maybe you can spend a few minutes browsing your own website. Or while you might be doing some online shopping, take some time to think about what makes the website successful or not. Then consider your own. Is it working?

Just take 10 or 15 minutes and run through the following checklist. Then ask yourself some questions as to whether your website is meeting your company needs.

1. Is the contact information correct? Have you changed your phone, cell or mailing address? Is the voice mail working properly? What do your customers see when they click the 'Submit' button?
2. Check when your domain expires. Go to, enter your domain and you will see the information about your domain. Does the contact information need updating? Is the email address still correct? This can affect whether you get expiration notices. I recommend not using an email address tied to an employee. Use a generic email that everyone gets or is sent to the owner of the business. This way if an employee leaves, you won't miss the renewal reminder.
3. Is your search engine results showing the proper title and description?
4. Have you provided any updated information regarding new products and/or services?
5. Are you really utilizing all of the services of your website? Have you checked your online statistics lately to see how traffic is moving, the search phrases used to find you? When is the best time of day visitors come to your site? Do they mostly come at night or maybe Saturday is the most visited day.
6. Are there any pages missing? Do you get and 404 "missing" error?

These are just a few items to consider, but you may have your own new year goals. I know I am in the middle of redesigning my website. What will you do in 2009?

Christina Hawkins

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