As 2011 starts to get closer to end, we as entrepreneurs and self startups all start to think of what we will improve on for the coming year. We reflecting on all of our accomplishments for this year, as well as any pitfalls that we learned from. As a designer, 2011 had many new apps, design improvements, and devices that helped contribute to our creativity. For all the small businesses out there, here are some great items you should implement to your website for better engagement and ROI.

Video – Having a 30-90 second video on your homepage is a great way to briefly talk about your products and services. It gives your visitors a great visual look at your products in action or how truly effective your services are against your competition. My only suggestion is to turn off the auto play option on your embedded video. There’s nothing more frightening than a loud video that automatically starts playing even before a website loads and your visitor scrambling for a mute button or just closing out of your site all-together.

Call To Action – Most everyone who is on the internet has an email address. They’ve got a Twitter handle, a cell, phone, and a physical address. Though they have all of this, it doesn’t mean they’re just going to hand it over to you for nothing. Give them a reason to give you their contact information with something they are looking for too. Could be a short e-book on how to make their own business card out of clip art for starters. Or how to find the best hosting company with the most options for a WYSIWYG editor. Change your CTA maybe each month and see which “gimmick” lands you the most leads. And tailor to suit after that.

Google Analytics – I can’t stress enough how having data is vital to your website. Knowing how many people view your site with some free site-hit button at the bottom of your page is so 90’s. How about knowing which pages people view the most; or how long people stay on each of your website pages; or what buttons and links they click on. What browsers they use (mobile, Firefox, IE, etc). There’s so much more Google offers you for free in data it will blow your mind. What’s key about all that data is that you continue to use it to tweak your site.

Social Media – I don’t need to beat the horse on this one, but your newer potential clients are out there talking about your products and services. They’re talking about you and your competition. If you want free crowd-sourcing social media will give it to you in a lot more than 31 flavors. Your business needs to join and be part of the online conversations that are happening right now. Take advantage of using specials with FourSquare Check-ins or Facebook Places. Check your listings on Yelp. Promote a one day sale with Twitter. Host a webinar and post it on YouTube and inspire people to watch and share it.

You – Yes you, you need to be on your website. For those of you that think a website is only important just to have and not to monitor and keep up with, you’re wrong. I’ve seen too many websites (good and bad) fail to keep updated. Plan a date with your website at least once a month. Our team at Design Theory make it a point to reach out with our clients at least once a month to discuss their website performance, things learned from the previous month, and new ideas and tactics we’ll try for the following month(s).

So what do you plan on doing with your website for 2012? Anything more than what we’ve listed above? Share in the comments below. We’d love to dialog with you.