Is your business poised to take advantage of the growth from 2016? One measure of a business’s strength lies in how quickly it can adjust to changes. There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to look back on the past year and evaluate your business plan. Here are a few questions to keep you on track and focused as you learn and grow from 2016.

1. What were your successes and strengths over the past year?

Identify specifically what you can to do develop and enhance those strengths.

2. What didn’t work? What was challenging?

Evaluate what didn’t work like you expected and learn from it. How did you positively address challenges? Can you take even more specific steps to do better this year?

3. What were your missed opportunities?

You may have overlooked an opportunity to take good pictures, send out a press release, attend a conference, advertise in a new way or make new business connections. Vow to act differently when the opportunity next presents itself.

4. How have your competitors changed?

Your own marketing strategy should encompass offense and defense, so you can react flexibly to whatever your competition is doing — not to copy them but to keep an equal standing or better. If new competitors have entered the market, evaluate what makes them different and adjust your own strategies accordingly.

5. When was the last time you updated your website?

If you can’t remember, it’s time to do it now. Add a new project to your portfolio. Change the description of your services to keep it updated and fresh.

6. What are your biggest opportunities this year?

Develop case studies or cultivate relationships that will help you take advantage of the growth you are seeing in your area. Has technology changed? Have any of your competitors closed? There could be a new niche for you to take over.

7. What trends are you seeing in what your clients are asking for?

Put what the market wants front and center in your marketing materials and in the supplies you sell, if applicable.

8. What industry changes will threaten your segment of the industry and how can you address them?

For instance, are the costs of raw materials expected to change? Will you be affected if our foreign trade policies change?

9. Do you have the right people in your organization?

Hire a marketer to take that work off your plate. Invest in trainings to make sure you have well-skilled employees. What skill sets is your organization missing? Can you provide that or do you need to outsource or hire new people?

10. What is your annual gross and net income goal?

Break that down into a monthly figure and take steps to determine how you will get there.

11. What part of your business is under-performing?

Evaluate what is not working to help you meet your targets. Do these sectors of your business need to be eliminated or do they need a push to help them move forward?

Whether you’re just getting started with a new business or you have an established business that is underperforming, the following are key 10 online marketing checklist items for optimizing your customer experience. The things in this online marketing checklist aren’t the only things that are important, but addressing these 10 things will give any business a boost.

1. Hire Professional Editors and Designers

Nothing reduces trust and confidence like mistakes and typos on a website, or images and colors that are just not quite right. You’re an expert in your field . . . editors and designers are experts in their field. Just as you completely understand your business, they will deeply understand how to create written and visual content that communicates your message with the utmost credibility. Professional designers and editors are trained to look at each detail and they will pick up on things that you won’t.

2. Integrate Keywords

When you’re writing your product descriptions or service packages, include keywords that people will search for. Search engine optimization starts with page titles and moves down the page to image titles and alternative descriptions. Not sure how to go about this? Let us help.

3. Use Share and Follow Buttons

Add social sharing buttons to your website, blog and email newsletters. Make it easy and instantaneous to share your great content, and people will do it. Add buttons linking to your social profiles that are easily found on all pages of your website, in a global footer, header or sidebar.

4. Keep Your Information Up To Date

Evaluate your About pages for terms such as “we started 5 years ago” when 2 years have gone by since you wrote it. Unless you’re going to remember to update these date-related terms each year, change them to “we started in 2009.”

5. Be Easy to Find

Links to your contact page should be easy to find. If your business relies on phone calls, make your phone number a hyperlink that people can tap and dial. Have you claimed your Local Business page? Your location should appear in Google Maps and other local search options if that is appropriate. Include multiple contact options. Give customers the option of chatting, phone calling, fax, in-person visits or email. The easier it is for people to find you and get in touch, the more likely you are to get the customers you want.

We published a post about what sites to go to online and claim your business listings.

6. Have Multiple Calls to Action

As visitors move through your site, they should encounter enough information along the way to increase the likelihood that they will complete the transaction or take the action you want. Have there be CTA buttons or links at each step so when they’re ready, it’s right in front of them. For instance, if your site visitors must scroll down to see all product categories, have a second “add to cart” button at the bottom of the page.

7. Have An Easy Checkout Process

If your goal is to get as many sales as possible, ensure that your customers have an easy shopping experience. This involves a few things, but key elements are an easy to find cart, clear shipping costs and instructions and clear contact information and return policy. Allow customers to easily add and remove items from their cart, continue shopping from their cart and link back to the product descriptions from their cart.

8. Have a Social Media Presence

Having a “social” company means more than just creating a Facebook page and never using it. Establish and interact with your audience in the platforms you’ve committed to. Give customers a reason to follow you by providing interesting and usable information. Social media channels are not the place to simply push sales.

9. Develop Comprehensive FAQ Pages

Site visitors who navigate to your FAQ page demonstrate a deliberate interest in knowing more about your products and services. Give them detailed information in the form of articles, videos and photos along with the ability to reach you if they want to learn more.

10. Say Thank You

Confirm the purchase or transaction with a confirmation email thanking the customer for their business and providing some basic information. You may wish to offer a newsletter sign-up on this email, or your full contact information or a coupon code for their next purchase. Engage with the customer and welcome them back again.

Pick one of the things in this online marketing checklist and check out how your site handles it. If you can improve it, you’re one step closer to greatness If you’re already doing, good for you!