8 tips for keeping your website current, relevant and alive
Are visits to corporate websites declining? Is the corporate website as we know it dying? According to a recent Forbes BrandVoice article by Michael Brenner the corporate website is in for a healthy disruption at the very least.
Some industry insiders are referring to this as part of an overall “content disruption.”
Where this disruption will lead is hard to say. Some companies will focus more efforts on blogs and digital magazines while others will scale back their website and redirect their efforts to achieve a broader online presence through social media.
Where your company should spend its resources depends on where your audience is. If your website traffic data indicates that your key audience is still moving through your website, then keeping it healthy is a winning strategy.
I’ve had the opportunity to write content for dozens of websites. Without fail, the biggest challenge for most companies is creating and keeping relevant content. Content managers either post so much content that the website becomes nearly impossible to navigate or they don’t post enough content and the information becomes outdated and irrelevant. Both scenarios leave visitors frustrated.
Even if you don’t have a team of content managers on staff you can keep your website relevant by following some simple guidelines. My recommendation is to conduct a thorough website audit at least twice a year.
Here are 8 tips I’ve shared with companies to help manage website content:
1. Create a plan and a timeline for your website audit and stick to it as much as possible but allow the flexibility you need in order to make the changes and updates that are identified.
2. At a minimum, closely examine the top 20% of the most heavily trafficked pages on your website.
3. Check every link, icon and image to make sure it is working as it was originally intended. This is especially important for all of your social media links and icons.
4. On content-heavy pages, insert headings and use bulleted lists to break up text and make it easy to scan. Tighten sentences and use shorter words to get your point across.
5. Remove any content that is no longer relevant or useful such as events that took place more than a year or two ago. Eliminate outdated information about products or services that may confuse your new customers.
6. Scan content to make sure that you have incorporated some informal stories to convey your message and build trust. Write interesting examples or testimonials about how your product or service has helped your customers.According to Forbes contributor Christine Crandell, corporate website visitors are looking for useful information and the ability to interact with real people.
7. Write a high-level summary documenting the content audit. Include highlights of the changes that were made and any upgrades that are needed between audits. Share the summary with key stakeholders in your organization so that the recommended upgrades will be in the next round of budget discussions.
8. Lastly, stay current on effective web writing styles. Online writing is like practicing meditation. You may never become a master but you will continually improve. One of my favorite content experts is Ann Wylie.
In the Forbes article, Brenner explains that static web content used like an online brochure is loosing its purpose and that corporations must get better at publishing desirable content that is easy to consume.
Corporations with a dedicated marketing and communication staff will have very little trouble surviving the content disruption. But what if you are a small B2B or B2C company with no dedicated staff and your website is experiencing a decline in traffic?
Consider outsourcing this important responsibility. In most cases your current staff is already stretched and a fresh set of eyes on your company’s web content is the best idea for keeping it current and relevant and keeping your website alive.