The new year is a chance for every business owner to set new goals and reevaluate the vision that drives the company’s culture and marketing efforts. Just as many individuals set New Year’s resolutions for weight loss, exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle habits, it is important for businesses to make improvements that will drive profitability or help you to achieve your other objectives.

The website is an important and often overlooked place that could benefit from your attention in 2013. So, in the spirit of some popular New Year’s resolutions, we offer three suggestions for website improvements that you can (and should) carry beyond the end of the first week of January.

3 New Year’s Resolutions

Resolution #1 – Bulk up your muscles. The real strength of your website in 2013—for both your visitors and for the search engines—will be in the content. Google’s expected release of the AuthorRank system will place quality content at the heart of SEO, so the earlier you start preparing for that, the better off your website will be.

As with real exercise, though, shortcuts just won’t cut it when it comes to your website content. Google’s algorithm is getting better and better at filtering out spam or content that has been copied from other websites. Invest your time in original research and careful thought about your company and your industry, and build ideas that matter—the kind that will appeal to your target audience, intrigue visitors enough to drive conversions, and improve your ranking in Google.

Success Strategies: Refresh your content regularly—rephrase language, add graphics, or make other small changes. You should also consider starting (or re-starting) a blog where you discuss company life and industry topics on a regular (at least weekly) basis.

Resolution #2 – Shed unnecessary pounds. Do you still use a Flash-based website? Do your style sheets or Javascript libraries include lots of unused information? If your website is more than two years old, or if you’ve noticed that your page elements are loading slowly, your site could probably stand to lose some weight. Many websites accumulate unnecessary code that slows down the loading times, which may drive away visitors who would otherwise be interested in your site.

Business owners whose websites were built using Flash should especially consider revisiting the coding language for their site. Flash used to be the tool of choice for visually-striking websites, but it is seldom necessary today, thanks to the advances made with HTML5 and CSS3.  Flash also has the distinct disadvantage of being incompatible with mobile devices, both Apple and Android—a big problem in the age of tablets and smartphones.

Success strategies: Reducing your bulky code will improve your website’s health (increasing its speed) and make it more attractive for visitors (especially visitors on the go). If your website is more than two years old, think about a sleeker redesign using an up-to-date coding language.

Resolution #3 – Add a little pizzazz. In 2012, we saw a steady increase in the importance of excellent visuals in website design. The exploding popularity of Pinterest surely means that this trend will continue, so if you haven’t yet considered the best ways to introduce graphics into your site, now is the time. This includes both photos and videos—and in the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if videos become THE most important way for a company to bring their site to life.

When you evaluate your website for its style and appeal, you should also consider the ongoing importance of social media in general. Have you integrated social sharing options into your blog? Are there easy links to your social networks on every page? Can you integrate a Twitter or Facebook feed into your sidebar? Consumers increasingly expect to be able to interact with a company online, and receive responses from actual human beings, so weaving social networking elements into your website should be a priority.

Success strategies: Add appealing graphics or a video to your website, or think about new and innovative ways to make your site more social.

What are you going to do to improve your companys website in 2013? In addition to the suggestions we made in this post, there are many other possible approaches for improving your online marketing strategy. Share your business’s New Year’s resolution with us in the comments!

Every day I get to think about technology and how it can make our world a better place. I love to relate pop culture to social media and help you understand how being social online can benefit you. Love books, music, classic movies, and connecting with cool people on social media!