Whether you are a full-time webmaster or a small business owner that dons the webmaster hat along with many others, these are some activities you will want to conduct on a regular basis.
The activities discussed in this post are
Some of these activities should be conducted every week. Others every month and a few just once a quarter. You might disagree with how often something should be checked and that’s OK. You might also have additional activities to add to your calendar depending on your business goals. That’s OK too.
The point of this post is to encourage you to set a schedule for these activities.
Open up your calendar app of choice and get ready to set some recurring appointments.
Let’s get started.
Following are activities that certainly don’t need to be obsessed over every week, much less every day. You might check these monthly but more likely these are once every three months type tasks.
Put these activities on your calendar once every three months.
Check inbound links
If you are doing some very active link building this might be something you do monthly or even weekly. But, at the very least run a report using something like Open Site Explorer from the good folks at SEOmoz.
Track down the sources of the links you are getting. Make note of the content they are linking to on your site. Try to understand why you received the link because that is the key to getting more. Dig into the sources of your inbound links.
Make note of the following from Open Site Explorer:
- Domain Authority
- Page Authority (of vital pages but at least your home page)
- Number of Linking Domains
- Number of Total Links
You should see your numbers increasing over these 3-month increments.
Here is a great resource for getting the most out Open Site Explorer.
Consider going Pro with this tool if you are going heavy on the social media.
Streamline branding on social media networks
How many social media accounts do you have? Too many?
Take some time once per quarter to make sure your branding and messaging is consistent on all of these profiles. It’s a quick activity with a big pay off.
Run through Your Sign-Up Process
Stuff breaks. Your branding and messaging changes. Web pages and posts are deleted or moved. If you fail to check your email subscription forms once in a while, you will likely be frustrating your new subscribers. Sign up for your own list and fix any problems you find with your opt-in messaging, thank you pages or follow up emails.
Check your free give away content
Download your white papers, free reports and other give away content. Ensure that it is working and still on message. Make tweaks where necessary.
These activities are either a bit more critical or more likely to change on a regular basis. Do these monthly.
Check Google Webmaster Tools
If you have just done a redesign to your site or messed with your URL structure, you will want to be doing this daily and then graduate to weekly. But once things are back to normal, you can relegate this to a monthly schedule.
There are a ton of goodies inside webmaster tools but none more critical than the “Crawl Errors” report.
You could get away with checking this quarterly but if Search is a primary traffic generator for you (for most of us it will be) it’s important to ensure that Google is not finding crawl errors on your site.
Fix any crawl errors you find in this report STAT.
Check Google Analytics Audience Reports
Look for visitor trends from month to month inside of Google Analytics by accessing the Audience reports.
Every website (and business) is different. The goal here is to spend some time each month learning more about the visitors to your website.
Some will need to be monitoring Demographics information like the Location and Language reports. A brick and mortar business, for example might be interested in the amount of traffic entering the site from their home town. On the other hand, a big multi-national may want to be monitoring the amount of traffic being generated by a new ad campaign in China.
One Audience Report most businesses should be monitoring regularly is the Mobile Report. Take a look at the Bounce Rate (# of visits that enter and exit from the same page) for mobile users and by device. If you are noticing an unusually high bounce rate for a particular device, you may want to find out why visitors from that device are finding the site frustrating to use.
With a Bounce Rate of nearly 97% and Avg. Visit Duration of 15 seconds, visitors using the HTC Evo are likely finding a bad user experience on this website:
Check Google Analytics Content Reports
If you are regularly adding content to your website as you should be, you will want to spend some time each month reviewing the Content Reports.
Again, every business will be different. The important thing is to spend time understanding the content that is doing well on your website. And, perhaps more importantly, understanding the content that is doing poorly.
Most websites will want to be monitoring the Landing Page (where visitors are entering your site) and Exit Page (where visitors are exiting your site) reports. These two reports can help you identify the top-performers and the pages that are turning visitors off.
The following activities are either super critical or highly subject to change from day-to-day and week-to-week. Some do these daily but weekly will do for most webmasters.
Check Your Google Analytics “Vitals”
I have these emailed to me from Google Analytics on a weekly basis. Learn how to set up reports to be emailed to you here.
Here are the analytics that I consider vital:
- Avg. Time On Site
- Bounce Rate
If you see a big increase or decrease in any of these vitals, you need to dig in and figure out what happened.
For example, a huge drop in traffic might lead you into Google Webmaster Tools only to find that 50% of your site is showing crawl errors. This is why you want to check your vitals weekly at the very least.
On the other hand, a big spike in traffic might lead you into the Google Analytics Traffic Sources report where you find a juicy link for an A-List blog.
Review analytics goals
Most sites will have goals configured inside of Google Analytics. You could consider this part of your “vitals” and you would be right. I thought the Goals Report, however deserved its own section in this post. Learn about setting up goals in Google Analytics here.
Once again, what you are looking for here is big swings one way or the other. After reviewing these reports a number of times you will learn the baseline — any large deviation in either direction should be further investigated.
Dig into the Traffic Sources report
Depending on how active you are as a marketer, you might check the Traffic Sources Reports every day (some check it every hour) or every month. However, once a week will be sufficient for the majority of websites.
Spend a few minutes each week looking at the Referring Sites report. This won’t likely take too long but you will want to be aware of new links you are getting, especially those that are sending traffic, so that you can respond accordingly.
For those with active SEO and PPC campaigns, the Search Reports should be monitored on a regular schedule.
What am I missing?
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list — the point of this post is to get your calendar out and get organized in the way that you spend your time being a webmaster and online marketer.
There are some super smart readers of this blog and I look forward to hearing what they would add to this Webmaster’s Calendar.