Plan to maintain your website

Notes on OKF website redesign

I went for a job interview over a year ago now. Actually it was an informal coffee chat about an opportunity but I like the informal and think there should be more of them. They’d found me on LinkedIn and been proactive about seeking new talent which I liked. Otherwise LinkedIn hasn’t really worked that well for me. But I digress.

One of the questions I was asked was what was my favourite things about digital? Without hesitation I said that it was the content. In retrospect I wish I’d elaborated upon it a bit more as the content is important but there’s more to it than that.

I wish I’d elaborated and said that while content is important, that the strategy around the content is even more important. Maybe I didn’t have the right words at the time to verbalise it but I certainly would now.

I’ve been saying for years and years that it’s no good having a website without it being maintained. Even now it drives me mad that people must have a website but have no thought for the rest of its life.

When you’re known among friends and family for being able to put together a website you get asked quite often to help them design a website. Usually design is the operative word. I’m not a designer so thank goodness for WordPress and themes that designers and developers have already put together.

I’ve often said no, or when I’ve said yes, things have stalled because they don’t have the content or any sort of strategy for their website. I said to one relative probably about a year ago that sure, I’d help build her website, but get the content to me first and we’ll go from there. Still nothing. As it would have been a sideline project for love I haven’t chased it up.

Part of my role as a content strategist is to educate people on what having a website entails. As I focus on the content and am not a designer see here for a web design questionnaire from a designers perspective.

Questions to consider about content when building a new website

What is the purpose of the website? Is to sell products or services, to provide information, to increase brand awareness. The purpose of your website should be aligned with your business goals.

Who is the intended website audience? Be specific and provide as accurate a breakdown as you can.

Have you got a domain name/web address?

Website owner: Who is ultimately responsible for the website and its content?

Website content

How will the website be built? If an existing company then they probably have a content management system, otherwise there’s solutions like WordPress.

What is the information architecture of your website? How is the site going to be structured and organised.

Have you got the content for the website?

If the content isn’t ready who will be providing the content?

Will images or video be used? Do you have these?

Website marketing

If the website is a brand new one how will users find it? Do you have a marketing campaign around the website?

Do any links to the website need to be added on other websites?

Is there any accompanying social media to help drive traffic to the website?

Website evaluation and maintenance

Will you install code to track visitors to your website, eg Google Analytics?

What is the planned lifecyle of the website?

Who will be maintaining the website?

This is the beginnings of a content strategy around your website and definitely worth considering before you start building one.

Is there anything you would add?

photo by: jwyg

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