A Back to Work Website Activity

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The weather has gotten crisp and the fog is starting to gather in the cooler mornings, meaning that autumn will be upon us soon.

For many, we think of this as “back to school” time and we expect young folks to refocus their efforts on their betterment. Why should we website owners be any different? Let’s take advantage of that mindset that our traditional schedule has practically programmed in us!

That’s why we’re going to look at a “back to work!” mindset for refreshing your website, a task which is smart to do at least once a year, regardless of the age of your site. It’s pretty straightforward! (And we made sure you could do part of it from your porch!)

First Gather Supplies

  • Computer
  • Mobile phone that can view websites
  • Notepad
  • Favorite pen
  • Favorite beverage (optional)

This experience requires you to consider some questions, and you’ll want to write down your responses to consider later.

Look around with fresh eyes.QDSMoAMTYaZoXpcwBjsL__DSC0104-1

First, you want to virtually open the curtains and windows and visit your site like you’ve never been there before. (This may not be hard, it’s often been a while since any site owner comes in through their own front door!) Experience the site as a visitor would.

Consider these questions and make notes:

  • What’s your first impression?
  • How is your site navigation?
  • How long does it take you to do what you’d want a visitor to do?
  • What’s it like to find answers to common questions?
  • How easy is it for a visitor to contact you?
  • What can be improved?

These questions help you understand what it’s like to experience your site as a guest.

Once you’ve finished this using your computer, open the site on a mobile phone and answer the same questions. Since it’s likely that 30-40% of your visitors are visiting your site, you want to check the mobile experience as well.

Go Outside Where It’s Nice

Head outside (if you want) and bring your mobile phone, notepad, pen, and favorite beverage. Use your phone to visit your website. (If you don’t have a smartphone, bring a friend with one to help – you really need to see and experience your website on a modern mobile device, even if you yourself are a holdout in a still uneasy relationship with your flip phone!) NPEA site on iphone

  • What’s your first impression?
  • How is your site navigation?
  • How long does it take you to do what you’d want a visitor to do?
  • What’s it like to find answers to common questions?
  • How easy is it for a visitor to contact you?
  • What can be improved?
  • Are there any actions that surprised you on mobile?

Mobile does some interesting things on occasion, from opening a map program automatically when you hit an address to automatically calling the number when you try to select it — so it’s exceptionally helpful to know how your site behaves on mobile so you’re not surprised by your visitors’ experiences. Click around on your site. Follow the links that the phone wants you to follow. Understand what the pathway is from information point to information point and see what (and how) apps are interacting with your website.

Consider your next steps

If your impression is good and you feel comfortable with how the site is working, then you may want to read the most important content and maybe rewrite it so it’s fresh. Replace old photos to change the look of the pages. This is detail work but can turn a good impression into a great one.

If your impression isn’t good — maybe your site is not mobile friendly or it reflects old branding — it may be time to make major changes to your website. (We hope that it’s the former, but if it’s not, let’s talk!)

Your website should be an asset to you and your organization and now’s the perfect time to make sure that you know what kind of asset you have as you prepare to go “back to work” this fall!

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