Spring Cleaning – The Website Edition!

Strategy

Here in Maine, people are itching to tidy yards, open the windows and then clean and declutter our spaces.

We don’t get that same feeling about our web content — but we should.

Websites are great because they can expand to meet our needs by adding new content, new features, and new images. We add content to improve what we offer visitors but we don’t always remove content to improve what we offer visitors. Just as a yard may get unwieldy and unattractive without dedicated maintenance, websites can get cluttered and confusing if they’re not reviewed periodically.

With that in mind, it’s good practice to review your website roughly every six months – and it’s easy to remember if you commit to taking a look at your site within the first couple weeks of spring and fall every year.

To start, take a quick look at your analytics. Focus your attention on what pages are popular.

  • Where are people going?
  • How long are they engaging with your site?
  • What kind of device are they using to access your site?
  • Do the metrics change substantially based on the kind of device used?
  • Are there pages you want people to visit that they don’t seem to visit?
  • Does it seem like your goals are being met?

All these give you things to watch for when you review the site yourself. As you review your site, keep your analytics in mind (you may even want to make notes on a printed summary as you go.)

Next, open your website with a phone. Take notes on your gut reactions – both good and bad – as you visit. Some things to consider are:

  • Is your site easy to use on the phone?
  • How does your content look?
  • Does it load quickly?
  • What’s it like to read your current content?
  • Do your calls to action seem to work on a mobile device?
  • Can you find things you need efficiently?
  • Does the experience match your expectations and goals?

Next, you’ll want to do more or less the same thing again, only on a bigger device, like a desk or laptop computer.

  • How does your content look?
  • Does it load quickly?
  • How does your content look?
  • Do your calls to action seem to work on this device?
  • Can you find things you need efficiently?
  • Does the experience match your expectations and goals?

Once you’ve conducted this review, it’s time to take a close look at your static content (you can leave your news, event, and blog feeds alone).

Here’s is where the cleaning comes in.

  • Read every page of static content, with fresh eyes – especially pages that people have spent little time on after visiting or those where you want to increase the time spent. Pay attention to how you move through the website and the paths you take to get to content that you find important.
  • Review each page of content for length and accuracy. Assess its readability. Check to see if the page title, heading, and subheading make sense together. Consider your images and how they support the content. Take in the tone of your content in the context of your brand.
  • Make notes about what needs to change and put on your calendar an appointment with yourself to make those changes to ensure they’re done (either by you or by another content manager.)

Ideally, all of the content on your site should help to meet your goals. Reducing online clutter, making text content more readable, and checking the quality and relevance of your images helps to keep your website looking great.

Doing this every six months also allows you to see trends and assess your changes so you can continue to refine old content by refining or editing it. And this process often helps to inform and improve new content as you continue to maintain your website.

You may also find that your site would benefit from some simple reorganization,  or that your goals may be better supported with stronger pathways, landing pages, or even a design refresh.

It’s not difficult, it doesn’t take long, and it improves your visitors’ experience — kind of like spring cleaning.

So head in and sweep out that website, or give us a call and let us tidy up for you!