45royale January 7, 2009

Looking ahead—our goals for 2009

There is no question, 2008 was a great year for 45royale and by the looks of things, 2009 should be even better! We are truly fortunate to be involved in an industry where so much new growth is occurring, despite the economic downturn that is impacting our friends, family, and nation. This time last year we talked internally about the goals we wanted to achieve as a company, but we never went so far as to write down our expectations and goals for the year ahead. So as we start off the New Year with a completely revamped site, we could think of no better occasion than to collect our thoughts and share our goals for 2009.

Finish projects stronger

Throughout a project’s life cycle, there are numerous highs and lows. About 80% of the time we’re grinding through the necessities, trying to meet goals and satisfy a client’s requirements. When you’re a small company, you have to stay nimble and able to transition from one project to another without disrupting productivity of existing jobs. We know this and we want to try to do a better job of easing our client out of their project and make the transition from an active site build to an active web site. In 2009 a happy client isn’t good enough. There is a lot more that we can do with clients in order to finish better, such as:

  • Factoring in time at the end of the project to compile a complete backup of all the work and providing to the client including all wireframes, color comps, templates, and code snippets that were used on the project. We usually do this upon request but this needs to become the rule, not the exception.
  • Providing the client with an exit survey to see how they really feel about the outcome of the project. They said they were happy, but were they? If they were pleased 90% of the time, what can we learn about the other 10% that could help us improve?
  • Help the client setup analytics to better manage their site. Is the site we designed helping them meet their goals? Does the data show areas where we could make simple, yet dramatic improvements?
  • Capitalize on post-project services that we can offer our clients, like site maintenance or newsletter creation.

Continuing our education

Let’s face it, the web is still in it’s infancy. It seems like every month there are new frameworks and more efficient coding styles popping up. Although we both did a good job of expanding our skill sets in 2008, there is always more to learn. This year we are making it a priority to take time for ourselves to learn all we can about existing and new technologies and to put them to good use during projects. We feel that not only will we be closer to the cutting edge of web development, but we will also be doing our current and future clients a great service by staying up to date with the latest web technologies. We will strive to improve our knowledge of PHP, jQuery, and CSS3 as more and more browsers begin supporting the specification. We’re not saying this will be easy, so it will take a conscious effort on our behalf to set aside time to learn and grow our skill set.

Start developing for the iPhone

The iPhone. What more is there to say? This is the most influential mobile device ever and the demand for applications and use is higher than ever. Not to mention Apple is about to put the "Jesus phone" in every Walmart in America and they expect to sell 4.5 million units in 2009. You can’t argue with volume. There is simply just no way we shouldn’t be trying to get involved in this rapidly expanding space. Do we know Cocoa? No. But if you read the previous paragraph, we’ll just tack on one more language to the list!

Get even more involved with the Web community

Again, this is something we have always done a decent job with, but there is always room for improvement. The biggest way we plan on getting more involved is through our new blog, which was the driving force behind our redesign of 45royale.com. We’ve structured the blog in such a way that we can now get quality, relevant, well-designed posts out to the masses—EASILY! Another way we can keep up with the community is by leveraging social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Adam was able to get Matt to actually start updating his Facebook page this past year (which was no small feat), and we both actually started updating our Twitter accounts (although it took an iPhone app to get us doing it). However, there is no question that these types of services can keep you up to date with your friends and colleagues, but they can also help us grow our brand and business, which is our main goal for the year.

Increase our blog presence and traffic

Currently we have a steady stream of traffic from several different sites on the internet. Most of our traffic comes from style galleries that have picked up our site and posted links here. For a small web shop in Canton, GA, we think we get fairly decent daily traffic. But that can always be improved. As we mentioned above, the return to WordPress should help our posting abilities and frequency, giving us a little bit more exposure. However, we need to plan on actively managing our blog statistics and would love to increase traffic by 50-100%. We know, we know. Sounds crazy. But we truly think it’s possible that by January 2010 we’ll see significantly larger numbers than we’re seeing now. Below you’ll find an image of our year-to-date traffic numbers. We’ll compare these images in a year’s time to see how successful we were.

Ready, Set, Go!

We have had such a wonderful past twelve months that it seems almost impossible to top the excitement that was 2008. However, we are looking towards the future and have even higher hopes for 2009. We look forward to a year filled with fun, continued growth and satisfying projects. What are you doing? We challenge you to set your own goals and to track your progress on them as the year progresses. We’d love to hear about your goals, so don’t be shy, leave a comment and let us know what you’re working towards this year! We’ll check back in at some point and give you an update on how we’re doing with each of these goals, but for now we wish everyone a Happy New Year and we’ll see you around the intergoogles.

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