A new year is coming and your web application and digital platform is still running... Well done!, Now it's time for new year's resolutions and I want to make sure that you will stick to them.
In this video, I will share with you the 12 key elements you MUST have in your digital roadmap for next year.
I'm not going to talk about long-term future trends, on how you should jump into the metaverse. Instead, I'm going to list the 12 concrete items that will have the biggest impact on your digital success.
So listen, take notes and start actioning all of them in the next 12 months. Let's get to it.
What should your digital roadmap for 2022 include?
The digital space is constantly evolving and the tech is moving really fast. However, some of the fundamentals never change. This year, more than ever, we have seen a big realisation from most of our clients that they need to get the basics right before they can start investing more budgets into innovation and new features. With this new year coming, it's time to take a step back, look at what you've achieved this year and really refocus your team.
As promised, let's go through the 12 items you must have on your digital roadmap to build a stable base and enable future growth.
1. Better Analytics Reporting
First, you should try to improve your analytics reporting. We all know that to make better decisions, you need to have the data to make informed decisions. It's time to review all your conversion paths on your reports, and really understand where your users are failing, what metric or metrics you could improve by a few percentages to improve your bottom line.
2. Improve Google Core Web Vitals
Second on the list, let's improve your Google Core Web Vitals. Search engines are getting smarter and smarter and behaving like humans. You cannot trick them anymore to try and boost your ranking on the first page. What you should do is optimise your server performance for faster loading times, and review your frontend code, your templates, for faster rendering. There is always room for improvement, and that will have a big impact in your search engine rankings.
3. Reduce Technical Debt
Number three, going a bit into tech: you should continue to reduce your technical debts and aim for something like 20%, for example. You can do that by refactoring your backend code. Just ask your development team what are the main pain points or the biggest complex modules that are slowing them down when building new features. If you book about 20% of their time to improve this into next year, you will greatly improve the stability of your application and the velocity of new features coming out.
4. Pass an Accessibility Audit
In fourth place, you should pass an accessibility audit. Do you even know how compliant your current website and web application are? Have you ever seen how a visually impaired user interact with your website? It's time to make sure you run an independent accessibility audit against the WCAG 2.1 standard. You will get our reports highlighting the main issues to improve your platform, to be more compatible with assistive technology or keyboard navigation, but it will also highlight how to improve your content structure, for example. And again, that will benefit everyone.
5. Review Your Data Privacy Processes
The fifth priority will be to review your data privacy processes. You might have done some work when GDPR and new data privacy laws came out a few years ago, but you've probably added a lot of new features since, your team has grown, and it's probably time to review your end to end process. ISO accredited agencies like mine can help you review how your customers and staff data is being captured, processed, and stored. We'll make sure it matches and is compliant with the regulations. It could avoid some really big headaches in the future.
6. Get Pen-Tested
Number six, and last on those trios of audits that you should do, is passing a penetration test. You need to employ white-hat hackers to try and break both your application - in terms of the source code - and your hosting infrastructure. Even with the best software engineers, the best tools, the best framework, there are always new things coming up, there's always something to improve, or a new vulnerability to patch. Make sure you run those pen tests regularly.
7. Review Your Hosting Bill
Seventh on the list: you should review your hosting bill. Do you know how much you're paying every month for your cloud hosting? Are you taking advantage of the dynamic scaling of cloud infrastructure? Have you even heard of the new serverless solutions or headless CMS generating static sites where you don't even need to run servers anymore? Whatever stage you're at, there's probably some optimisation on costs to be made. At the same time, it's likely you can improve the reliability and the redundancy of the systems. Reach out if you need any help on those.
8. Fix Your Website Search
In eighth place, let's fix your website search. Yes - this is one of the most challenging areas, I know. Especially when you have a content-rich website with lots of different categories and different documents. Every project is very tricky because most of the "out of the box" solutions from most frameworks don't work very well. There's a lot of planning to do in terms of tagging your content, but new technology can help you with that. Once it's indexed in a powerful search engine solution, you can use natural language processing and AI to derive meanings from keywords and identify search intent from your customers. It will really be revolutionary for your end-users, so don't leave that behind.
9. Get a Featured Snippet
Number nine: let's try to get you a featured snippet. This is when Google shows an extract of your webpage at position zero, on top of the search results for a specific keyword. We've achieved those for several clients: it requires a bit of work on your content structure and your website templates, but it can be done with whatever framework you're using. Moreover, it can really boost your traffic for several hundreds of percent for those specific keywords, so let's try to get that on your roadmap.
10. Gain Some Accreditations
In the tenth place, you should gain some accreditations to build trust with your customers. You should reach out to some industry bodies and get certified when the relevant accreditations in your sector. It will help your team to follow best practices, increase your brand trust and allow you to network with other professionals in your industry... Hopefully all of that will help you gain new clients.
11. Go Sustainable
Number eleven, almost there: let's go sustainable. This will be an ongoing trend for decades to come. Our digital industry is waking up too. From the Sustainable Web Manifesto, sustainable web design is an approach to designing and building web services that put people and the planet first. It delivers digital products and services that are clean, efficient, open, honest regenerative, and resilient. I'll explore this in more detail in a future video, so don't forget to subscribe if you want to see this early next year.
12. Validate With Your Users
Last on the list, the twelfth point: you can actually forget about all the tech and the tips I gave you about the digital side. Because it should really focus on your users. I hope you're going to put the 11 items I gave you on this video, on your roadmap, but the MOST important will be to validate this roadmap with your users... both your internal users and your customers. It's not always about adding new features to your products for your end-users, for your paying customers. Sometimes, you need to think about them back-office tools for your internal teams for example. You should ask them what are the repetitive tasks that are taking very long now, and you can automate them more or tweak the process so they spend time doing higher-value work. For our end-users, you should always validate those user stories by running UX audits and proper user acceptance testing with real customers in the field, to make sure that you're building the right thing.
That's it for our roadmap, here are the 12 items that will make the biggest difference in your digital success next year. You should review which one makes more sense for you and reprioritise them... then just try to schedule them, schedule all your efforts to maybe achieve one per month in the next year. That would be really amazing.
I hope you found this useful and that it gave you some ideas.
If you need help with your digital system in 2022, just get in touch. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter to keep learning with me and grow your career in digital.
Until next time, stay safe and see you soon.