When I ran a large corporate web team, as part of the recruitment process I would set a task at interview to seek opinion on how the website was working; not only did this sort out the talent as only the best candidates dared to say anything uncomplimentary whilst also offering constructive criticism, it also offered multiple fresh viewpoints about the site that can often be missed by people seeing the same old site again and again.
One of the first tasks of any new employee was also to critique the site while they still had ‘new eyes’, as this was the best opportunity at keeping your website fresh to the rest of the team.
In a smaller team you may not have so many immediate opportunities, So how can you work at keeping your website fresh when you become very familiar with it?
Firstly, think of your audience before you think of anything else. What are you saying throughout the site to gain and attract customers and is your message consistently coming across? Ask your current customers what they think of the site, or post questionnaires to get feedback.
Profile your typical users with as much detail as you can – age, sex, likes and dislikes etc. Building up a set of user pictures or personas means that when it comes to looking at the site from their point of view you are more able to understand what they would like to see of what you can offer.
Use your metrics to determine what changes you should make to the site. What are people searching for when they reach you? What related keywords might there be that could extend your reach or that you could also cater for on your site? There is a wealth of information available that you should be mining for information on a regular basis.
Make sure every part of your site is working hard to support your objectives and strategy, and that it contributes to the achievement of your goals. Be ruthless about what does work and doesn’t work, and try not to get too upset when you realise that something you thought would be brilliant is criticised or ignored by users.
Keep the content changing on your site. Stale sites are very off-putting to browsers, as if it looks like you don’t care for your site, then why would you care for them as a customer. Spending time planning what content you can add should make this a less daunting task. Additions of new content keep your website fresh and more visible to search engines, as well as providing opportunity to flag this content on social media sites and so drive traffic back to your website.
Decide how much of this feedback you can take on board and which action points fit with your strategy. When you make changes, test how well they work and then tweak again – continual optimisation of your site and incremental change should lead to improvements in your conversion rates and results.
Just a few ideas here on how to keep your website fresh; how do you go about this? Or if you are struggling to do so, get in touch and let me show you how I can help.