This week our re-designed website turns 1 year old. We’ve gone through a lot over the past year with this website…here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way:
One size does not fit all – What looked great on a laptop didn’t always look so fabulous on a mobile phone. We had to tinker with sizes of articles and pictures, formats, etc. in order to make our site look great on all different surfing devices.
Analytics are where it’s at – A newer, updated website gives us the ability to analyze our site traffic in-depth. With our old website, the site traffic information we could gather from it was marginal at best. Now we have a better idea of who is visiting our website, for how long, how they got there, and what specific pages are drawing interest. This will help us with marketing strategies, going forward.
Get help when you need it – We are a company of Human Factors researchers, not web designers. While we might have been able to cobble something together, in order to get a website with a professional and polished appearance, we trusted the experts.
Set deadlines and stick to them – By not having defined deadlines, you run the risk of your website upgrade project undergoing endless edits and iterations. We set a launch date and stuck to it, thereby avoiding costly time and budget over-runs.
SEO is your friend – Maximizing Search Engine Optimization is just as important as getting the right content on your site. We’re still learning about it, but it’s clear that SEO is what drives traffic to a website.
It’s never “finished” – A good website is one that is constantly being updated with new content. This can be exhausting if you’re updating major pages (like your home page), but adding a blog here and there is an easy way to keep your website up to date and looking fresh. We try to post blogs at least bi-weekly.
Keep it groomed – Having old content on your site just sitting, waiting for people to catch on that you haven’t done updates in a while is a sure-fire way to lose their interest. We review our site at least monthly and make sure that outdated content, such as passed “upcoming events”, is removed.
Generating content is not always easy – Knowing what to say and how, in order to represent that “perfect” company image, is very challenging. We used an all-hands-on-deck approach with a couple project managers responsible for consolidation. It was a successful approach but definitely created some constructive discussions about how to achieve the elusive “perfection”.
Ask for feedback – You might think your website looks great and is fully functional, but ask others. You will be inherently biased in how effective you think your website is, especially if you’ve done the majority of the work on it. We asked our clients, customers, and friends for their opinions and were open to their feedback. It might have been a little painful, but it was worth it.
Here’s to year 2 being even more successful than the first. Happy Birthday, HSI® website!