Good Web Housekeeping

Most companies’ websites are a lot like closets. Everything’s dumped in them: data sheets, press releases, brochures, webcasts, and podcasts. Sure, a website is a great way to get your message out to your customers and prospects—the problem is that we leave all these assets out there in cyberspace and forget all about them.

That’s why it’s critical to do a bit of tidying up every so often.

Clean up your content. “Hey, I haven’t seen this old _____ (data sheet/webcast/white paper) for years. Wonder if it still fits?” A sweater? Maybe. A white paper? No, unless you want to showcase out-of-date products or technology.  Otherwise, give the old heave-ho to all that content past its expiration date.

Is it news? Does your “News” link bring up a year-old press release? Then it’s time for a refresh. Archive the old stuff and get the real news front and center. Same goes for blogs. If you’re going to create a company blog, make sure it’s updated regularly.

Watch the format. Websites can be constantly tweaked and improved. New design approaches can be incorporated all too easily. Just make sure that if you try something new on your home page, the new design is consistently used in pages a few clicks down.

Links to nowhere. Nothing says messy website more than broken links. Frustrating your readers is the last thing you want your website to do. Keep to a schedule, and do a big sweep every few months. Click through everything that’s clickable and make sure the links take you to the right places. Check around for out-of-date assets and toss ‘em out.

Don’t assume that your web team or corporate PR is taking care of this. Sometimes, you just have to clean up after yourself.

By Bobbie Hartman