Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Many people go on that diet or start exercising, but some people also make resolutions relating to their work.
The new year can be a good time to start doing those projects you’ve been putting off for a while, ticking off that item on your “to do” list that seems to have been there forever, or doing something differently through a new approach. Here are some ideas for New Year’s resolutions for the website team.
With the impact of the pandemic inevitably hanging over much of 2021 with a very fragile economy, a theme of the year will be constrained budgets; lavish spending and extravagant investment are unlikely to get the green light any time soon.
Here a valuable approach is to make the most out of the systems and applications that you already have access to, leveraging those existing capabilities that you have already paid for but not exploited up to now. This approach can go a surprisingly long way because teams do not always use all the features of a CMS or even a platform like Sitemorse, and do not even know about them; sometimes these unused capabilities can make a real difference and open up pathways to improvement and other benefits.
Improving website accessibility is a classic project that is on many team’s radar and “to do” list but never quite gets actioned; inevitably, something else gets prioritised over it, or the timing is never quite “right”.
2021 is an excellent time to finally do something about accessibility; the pandemic has shown how important it is to open up information for everybody, and the relative risks relating to legal action make it increasingly important. We don’t need to mention the other numerous benefits that flow from improving accessibility, including increased commercial opportunities, better overall usability and support for Diversity & Inclusion. In an environment where high impact projects that are relatively low cost are going to be the order of the day, improving accessibility is the one new year’s resolution that you really should make.
Most digital teams use some analytics, perhaps from their CMS and Google Analytics, to carry out some website reporting on a weekly or monthly basis. While this process can track success and also identify if there are problems that need to be rectified, a surprising number of teams simply do not measure enough or actually act on these numbers.
The new year is a good opportunity to take a more structured and comprehensive approach to measurement that looks at a wider range of inputs and then involves a regular process to review and subsequently act upon your measures to drive improvement. Here benchmarking using a service like Sitemorse’s INDEX capability can also help. Acting upon analytics on a regular basis is a powerful way to drive improvement.
Regular measurement is good but it’s possible to go further and commit to continual improvement, taking a more comprehensive and methodical approach to your improvement processes. This requires a new mindset for the team with more focus on driving improvement across multiple aspects of your site.
Making a new year’s resolution to commit to continual improvement overnight may not be realistic as it needs some thought and planning; making a commitment to move towards continual improvement may be a more achievable goal and help to bring the rest of your team with you on that journey.
Site sprawl is an ongoing challenge for website teams; a website can rapidly become clogged up with out-of-date content that impacts both usability and findability. A regular clean-up of content can help to avoid this but if you have a sprawling site, a one-off archiving, deletion or content clean-up project may be necessary. Sometimes this exercise might relate to a part of your site that doesn’t get all the love and attention it deserves; recently we’ve highlighted the challenges of managing PDFs where some kind of clean-up is often critical. Teams can be surprised at the tangible difference to user experience that a comprehensive content clean-up or reduction exercise can make.
If you are planning to clean up your content or improve accessibility, it’s also worth thinking about how you then ensure you don’t lose the gains you have made going forward. Here tightening up on content governance is a must – introducing the standards, processes and rules that help to keep your content up to scratch. Content governance is perhaps not the most exciting new year’s resolution you want to introduce, but it can be one of the most important. For example, even if it is as simple as introducing an archiving policy for your news or articulating your standards in a simple document and circulating those to your content community, this can make a difference.
Training is an area where website teams sometimes neglect, often because they are too busy. Taking a more structured approach to upskilling yourself and your team can really reap benefits, not only in helping employees be more effective in their role, but also in bringing new ideas to the team, and engaging employees through personal and professional development.
Upskilling doesn’t need to necessarily mean formal learning; for example, the on-the-job experience of improving accessibility that it is driven through a platform like Sitemorse is a great way to develop and embed new skills.
The new year is a great opportunity for you and your team to do something different and to do something better. Good luck with your work-related New Year’s resolutions!