Updating Your Company Website: Concise, Current, & Relevant Content

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What makes a good website? Ask a hundred people and you are likely to get a hundred different answers: multimedia, easy navigation, nice graphics, etc. One commonality among the answers will probably be “the content.” A website is only valuable to your audience if it has content that is concise, current, and relevant.

 What does it take to meet each of these expectations?

  • Concise – It is true that we live in an age of information overload. Visitors come to your website for information. You are doing them no favors by watering them down with tons of verbiage they must weed through for that one golden nugget they are seeking. Keep navigation and messaging simple and make it easy for your visitors to find what they need.
  • Current – Of the three goals for website content, current is by far the most difficult to achieve because it is never completed. A website should go through constant evolution and never remain static. Business needs change rapidly, and content can quickly become out of date; even with continual care and feeding, there are times when a total website redesign could be warranted (see below), which is recently what Rockton had to do.
  • Relevant – Knowing your audience is key to meeting this objective. Luckily, there are tools to help you. Although, no one enjoys unnecessary monitoring of their web activity, it is important as a webmaster to know specific things: what pages are most viewed on your site, what pages are entry and exit pages, and how many people are repeat visitors. These types of metrics when coupled with a short web survey should help paint a picture of how relevant your content is.

 So you have decided on a total website redesign…

If you have reached this point you have probably spent many hours weighing the pros and cons of such an undertaking. It’s important to understand why you feel a complete redesign is necessary and also have a clear vision of what you hope to achieve with this effort.  It is important to perform a thorough gap analysis determining what content is valid to carry over, as well as what areas of the old website can be pruned.

 Your marketing group should define your branding and the look/feel of your new site, but it is important to not get into analysis paralysis here. Alina Filipczak, the Marketing Manager at Rockton Software, dealt with all branding when doing our complete redesign; she had a clear focus on the consistency of the Rockton brand. Although involving many people in the feedback loop for branding can be useful, it is often impossible to create something that is unanimously liked.

 Once development is underway things must move quickly because any changes on your existing site need to be kept in sync with the new site.

 Finally, it is important to have extensive internal testing on your new site in a staging environment before you go-live.  Rockton tested our new website design for over a week before launching it, thus, giving the Rockton staff time to identify any necessary changes. Allowing the new website to be tested, gives you time to discover any refinements that may be needed, such as usability and navigation—it is much better to catch those changes before you make your official launch!

 Rockton’s official launch date of the new website design was September 24, 2012. We needed to revamp the old look, but keep the consistency in our branding. Check out the new website design at www.rocktonsoftware.com, maybe it will give you inspiration to spruce up your company’s website!

 Written by Shawn Strayer, Web Developer at Rockton Software.

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