Look after your website, otherwise it can fall into disrepair. By learning good habits you’ll be able to manage and maintain the organisation, structure and integrity of your content.
- Keep your files and folders properly labelled and well organised in the content management system. This will help you and others manage the site easily.
- Regularly check and review content on your site to ensure that it’s up-to-date, logical, clear, working as planned and performing well.
Is your content up-to-date?
- Remove or update time-specific information as quickly as possible. This might include events, deadlines or closing dates. Schedule calendar reminders for when you need to do this
- News stories age quickly, too. Decide how far back your archive will cover. Will your news stories go back six months / 1 year / 3 years? Regularly remove stories that are too old and no longer relevant.
Is your content fresh?
- When was your content last reviewed? Some information ages very quickly. Your pages may need to be refreshed, completely rewritten or deleted
- Schedule editorial reviews section-by-section, for example, one a month during less busy times. If you need to involve colleagues in the process, let them know what to expect and give them a deadline
Devise a checklist to help you decide whether you need to make changes, e.g:
- Is the information correct?
- Does the information reflect what users now need to know?
- Is the most important information first?
- Does the page meet UCL web guidelines? Download the UCL content style guide (PDF)
- Is it easy to find essential information (e.g. contact details, social media addresses etc.).
- Is the page still needed?
Make the changes as soon as possible, don’t let them build up!
Do all your links work?
If you have lots of links on your site, it is important to check for broken ones
- Content moves, file names and locations change because websites close or re-launch. Links to pages within the UCL site may break, too!
- Regularly run an automatic link check to help spot if you have broken links on your site. There are lots of free checkers online. UCL uses Siteimprove. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
- Fix broken links as soon as possible
- Avoid future broken links by copying and pasting links from your browser into the CMS rather than typing them from scratch
- Don’t forget about the sites that may link to you: only change file names or URLs if you have to. And if you do change names or remove a page or document, try to let the people that link to your site know!
Is the navigation still logical and clear?
- As new pages are added, it is easy for the architecture / navigation of a site to get out of shape. How well you structure your information makes a big difference to user experience (UX)
- Are the words you are using to describe your sections clear and reflect the content you have put in them?
- How many sub-sections (and sub-sub-sections) do you now have? A basic rule of thumb is to have a maximum of between 5 and 9 navigation items at each level of the site, and try not to have more than three levels in the site structure. If you have more than this, think about whether you can move content somewhere else or remove it? If not, keep it as it is but be careful about adding to it further.
- If you want to check whether your site structure still makes sense, test it on some of your users. Ask them to find key bits of information and observe how they go about it
Use your analytics and user feedback to make changes
- Your statistics will give some insights into how your site is being used. Look at the list of your top content. Does it include your most important pages? Are users spending enough time on the page to read it? What are your bounce rates? Are users visiting more than one page? See more about using Google Analytics to monitor and measure site performance
- Find out from users what they like / don’t like about your site. You could informally ask users about specific sections if you meet them in person or run a more general survey to find out about how people use the site, what they think about the navigation or to assess whether the site is meeting the needs of a particular user group - prospective students, researchers, etc. See more about how to run a website satisfaction survey on the KnowHow NonProfit website
You may also get unsolicited feedback from users (positive and negative) but be careful about making a change based on one person’s comments (unless it’s a simple thing like reporting a broken link or a spelling mistake).
Check your search rankings
- How well does your site come up in the UCL search and external searches? Do some testing with the keywords people might use to find you. Think about the brands or names people might use as well as subject or topic names
- If your site is not listed in the search results, spend some time working on your metadata and keywords. See more about optimising your site for search
Digital Presence, in Information Services Division, provides digital services to UCL. They can advise and assist you with your web housekeeping. If you have any queries, contact Digital Presence via: email@example.com