Written by Oscar
Nurture your website and it will pay you back
A website, just like any other investment, needs regular care to ensure it continues to support you and your business. This might be small tweaks here and there or the development of new sections and functionality.
From our experience, a key challenge is ensuring other stakeholders understand the need for a continued focus on the website. Especially when it means ensuring the budgets are allocated.
Below is a list of the kind of things that we often work on once the glitz of a new website launch has worn off:
- Adjustments to how content is published. Nothing beats testing a site once live!
- Designing and building new layout blocks. This could be to cater to new types of content or adding alternative ways of presenting existing content.
- Evolution of the brand. This could be anything from a tweak to the logo and colours to an overhaul of how the brand connects with their audience.
- New sections to be built and integrated across the site. Perhaps your company has decided to put on events or started a podcast series!
- Adjusting tracking for analytics. We often work with Ad/PPC agencies to ensure they have the data they need to optimise conversion.
- Training of new colleagues. As new people join your team we recommend that we have a session with them to help them make the most of the system. And… cough… not adopt any bad habits ;)
- CMS updates. Small changes are easy to keep on top of. But there comes a point when there is no easy update route if you want to take advantage of a new fancy feature. Don’t put it off!
Website life cycle
How long a website remains fit for purpose depends on the incremental changes you invested in and how fundamental any shift in your businesses strategy is.
Website refresh loop
"Streamline how you maintain and nurture your website so you can scale it and your business."
We’ve found that a general guide is about 3-5 years. The trick is to ensure you are already planning the next generation of your website before the current one reaches end of life… which is often followed by a scramble to design and build a new one. In the same way the cost of a site is depreciated over it’s lifespan, you should be banking budget each year for enhancements and rebuilds. A new website can retain much of the functionality and content for a redesign but may still require an overhaul of code and design.
How to stay on top of it
Throughout the life of the website you should be prioritising learning from how people are using the site. This will feed into the decision making process for what is prioritised on the site.
We suggest a quarterly or twice yearly chat to review how the site is performing, understand any changes to how the business is operating, brand changes and so on.
A few things you can do:
- Capture feedback internally from key stakeholders.
- Review how content editors are using the CMS; does the system cater for all the content they are wanting to publish and establish where additional training may be needed.
- Chat to your trusted clients/customers about how they use the website and how whether it reflects their perception of the business.
- Assess any trends or changes to the organic traffic coming to site. It’s worth reviewing the keywords or phrases people use to extract any insights
- Determine the timescales for site redesigns so this can be managed internally.
- Check that you are recording the data you need in your analytics set up; goals, actions/events etc. It’s also useful to add notes for key dates of marketing campaigns or other changes in the analytics package.
By staying on top of how the website is performing and assessing itagainst the core objectives of the business, you will be in a good position to know when to adapt or do a full redesign. Whether that be 3 or 5 years from now.