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December 12, 2012

7-Step Website Detox for After the Holidays

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I’ve got half a bottle of cinnamon whiskey in the freezer and an empty carton of eggnog in the trash that says I’m due for an after-holiday detox.

The holidays and the beginning of a new year collide in a chemical reaction unlike the rest of the year. On the one hand you’ve got a guilt-free pass to give into your indulgences. Then, that passion does a 180 toward a fresh start and promises for a clean-running, new-and-improved self. The trick to a successful transition is a good detox.

Same goes for your website when confronted by a new year after the holiday season has passed. So, here’s the detox program — a seven-step cleanse for your site’s fresh start.

1. Turn off seasonal PPC campaigns and strike holiday offers, messaging and design from the site.

This one’s already on your to-do list but can’t be overlooked as you clean up any holiday holdovers.

2. Review the site for outdated information.

Do an inventory of your site, content and other online assets with an eye for info that is out of date. Update the content so it’s accurate for the current time and place. Look for opportunities to make content evergreen – that is, not time sensitive and always true. You’ll find a process for updating site content in Keep It Fresh: Steps for Updating Your Website Content.

tree trimming

3. 301 redirect broken internal links.

A site gets a little shaken up over the course of a year, so check Google Webmaster Tools for broken links and other errors. Then put in place 301 permanent redirects for all the lost links and pages of yore. You’ll be improving crawl efficiency on your site, consolidating link value and making a better user experience.

4. Audit the site’s backlinks and prune as needed.

As you know, 2012 was the year of the link penalty. Have you detoxed your site’s backlink profile? The Step-By-Step Guide to Link Pruning we published in May is your instruction manual for finding and extracting links that are hurting your search rankings.

5. Add fresh content to the site. Blog!

With any gunky build up of the past year cleaned up, it’s time to proactively add to your website assets. Fresh content is important to a healthy website, and a blog is just the place to do it. You’ll need to set up processes for regular blogging, even daily blogging. As you’ll find, post frequency is important for building readership and to get ranking benefits and it’s been found that, contrary to what you might suspect, quality has been found to improve with frequency.

6. Inject life into your community.

Do you have any plans for building your brand’s community next year? Good will and fun interactions are rewarded with customer loyalty online and offline. Map out your community management strategy for the year ahead. Start planning campaigns, contests, special offers to grow your community in the new year. For instance, contests with prizes might attract attention, get your brand to top of mind and collect leads, subscribers and data.

7. Mix in some fresh blood.

Be it through partnerships or guest bloggers, adding new nodes to your network will help you gain brand visibility and find new audiences. Guest blogging benefits all involved – readers, the blog host and guest alike. Follow the Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging to set goals and find opportunities for guest bloggers and to guest blog. Beyond blogging partnerships, you can also find fruitful collaborations with community and charity organizations, business partners with complementary services and advertising and sponsorships.

Start knocking down these seven steps because once you’ve shelved the site’s glitzy designer duds and scrubbed down a year’s worth of residue in website code, outdated content and sullied links, you’ll be glad. Your site’s a clean slate and the future is full of bright potential thanks to your dedicated deep cleanse.





2 responses to “7-Step Website Detox for After the Holidays”

  1. Danielle writes:

    Hi Virginia. Thanks for the tips. I actually started on #3 last week. I went into Google Webmaster Tools and I was surprised at the amount of broken links I had. My blog is on WordPress so thankfully my trusty 301 redirects plugin fixed them for me. As a result, my Alexa rank has decreased tremendously and my traffic has increased! :)

  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Oo Danielle! Feels good to clean up, doesn’t it?!



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