It’s finally 2017. You’ve spent the past few months pouring over your company’s analytics and 2016 reporting data. You’ve read every article possible on upcoming online marketing trends to implement in the new year. You and your team have a strong online marketing plan developed, and now it is time for implementation.

Now that you and your team have launched your company’s online strategy, you can’t help but wonder if you missed something crucial to your success. Here’s the top three things you need to ensure are incorporated into your digital marketing plan in 2017 to be prepared for what the new year will bring online.

Website speed will make or break your online success

By the end of 2017, if your website doesn’t load on desktop and mobile platforms within 2 seconds, you simply won’t be able to compete online.

Think about the last time you were searching for a product or service online. When you clicked on a website link, how patient were you when the information you expected to show up, didn’t immediately appear? Odds are, you weren’t. You moved on to another website that made it fast and easy to find the information you were looking for.

Google and the other search engines know that their users aren’t patient. They need to deliver results faster than ever to keep users engaged.

If online marketing is a core part of your organization’s marketing plan, it’s vital that you get ahead of the curve on website speed to deliver the experience your customers are expecting when they visit your company online.

To find out how your website is currently performing, visit Google’s Page Speed Tool. This is a free resource that scores your website from 1 to 100 to see how Google is currently evaluating your site’s speed.

Another free resource is Dot-Com Monitors website speed test where you can instantly test your website from 20+ locations around the world, utilizing real browsers just as end-users experience your website. You can run a free speed test yourself here.

If your site scores anything below a 60, it’s time to start evaluating options on how to decrease your site’s load speed. To get the exact load time of your site visit Pingdom or GTmetrix to test your site’s exact load speed for free.

If your Google Speed Test comes in under 60, your website isn't performing as well as it should be. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, website speed isn’t a simple plugin update. Site speed is heavily dependent on backend development and code optimization.

If load speed wasn’t something your website design team talked to you about when it was built, odds are, it wasn’t built for speed. If your site wasn’t built for speed initially, it’s often more cost efficient to rebuild than trying to optimize slow code.

Successful organic SEO campaigns will incorporate national PR initiatives in 2017

In 2017, it will be more important than ever that your online marketing plan incorporates a strong link-building campaign encouraging other websites to link back to your site. One of the best ways to secure high-quality links to build your site’s authority is to implement a national PR campaign.

When you secure media coverage through a targeted PR campaign, news and media outlets share content featuring your organization online, even if it doesn’t make it to print. Not only that, but they often include a link back to your website to provide their readers more information about your organization.

Take a minute and imagine what it could do for your organization’s reputation if Oprah published a blog about how amazing your company was on her website. That massive authority recognition is how search engines see these media outlet links, which ultimately improves your search engine results and attracts more prospects and customers to your business online.

For every dollar spent driving traffic to your website, you should be spending another on conversion rate optimization

It’s no secret that driving traffic to your website is a key foundational element of any successful online marketing campaign, but then what? That’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) takes the stage.

CRO is the practice of analyzing how visitors use and explore your website to discover opportunities to improve their experience and increase the percentage of visitors that convert into customers or take a specific action on your site.

Too many marketing executives spend huge budgets driving traffic to their company’s site completely forgetting to follow through with CRO tactics. In fact, according to Conversion XL 53% of organizations have no budget for this type of website optimization at all.

If CRO is the key to decreasing wasted marketing spend and increasing online marketing ROI, it’s critical that this optimization tactic is incorporated into your plan for the new year.

About the Author: Lauren Davenport is the founder and CEO of The Symphony Agency ( She started her company in college and in less than five years turned it into one of the fastest-growing marketing and technology agencies in the country. Her mission is to inspire people to do the things others say can’t be done: to achieve the extraordinary.