Organize,Optimize, Document, Train (repeat)
Websites Establish Branding
Your website is more than a brochure or a slide deck in the sky.
Your website establishes your brand presence on the web and is one of your most important assets for sales, marketing and technical support.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a one and done effort (hence the “repeat” noted above). Websites require a continual cycle of optimization, information organization, documentation and training of content contributors to maintain site quality.
Organize – Website Structure
This great article from Moz on website structure and internal links, references one of my favorite books – “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. The book’s premise is to design interfaces or website structures so your users can accomplish their tasks easily. It’s also extremely important that relevant keywords are included in your website structure. In addition:
- Always include the path to the unique piece of content in the URL. A URL such as “/fruit/apples/fuji/” is much more meaningful to humans and search engines than “/fuji/”.
- Always have a unique URL per each piece of content.
Optimize – Search Engine Optimization
Websites take a lot of time and effort to create and manage, so making sure your site can be found by search engines such as Google or Bing is crucial. Content Management Systems like WordPress are popular because of the flexibility they offer in terms of managing menus, taxonomy, and URL structure. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Semrush, provide valuable guidance on how users are finding your site and what they view.
No matter what Content Management System (CMS) is used for managing a website, they have a significant level of complexity. One of the best ways to manage complexity is to thoroughly document the content SEO process and create a checklist. When creating documentation, I follow the guidelines my sister taught to her high school classes about writing instructions. The instructions for the class were simple: write down a recipe for how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then dictate it to your class partner. Inevitably, peanut butter was spread on a desktop because at least one person forgot to mention the peanut butter needed to be spread on the bread.
People can be resistant to following checklists or procedures if they’re uncomfortable working in a CMS. Training helps your content contributors navigate the complexities of the CMS and helps you explain the “Why” of the procedures. My training method is adapted from my experience teaching adult swimmers how to tread water to remain afloat in deep water; step by step, patiently, and methodically.