How is the Health of your Website?
By Matt Coulter
If you’re not sure, get a checkup!
With all the changes and uncertainty of since mid-March of this year, it’s easy to forget about the various systems that keep on chugging along as they operate in the background. The Maxwell School web site (www.maxwell.syr.edu) and all of its various sections certainly can fall into this category.
Making sure your site is accurate and up to date is as we enter into the 2020 – 2021 academic year is more important than ever. Here are some general tips and specific actions that you can do now to make sure your site is performing at its best and meeting your visitor’s needs!
Your Audience and their Goals
Take a step back and think about the various users who may be coming to your site. List who your site’s audience is and why they are visiting your site. Are they potential undergraduate or graduate students, researchers, news media, faculty, parents, or some other group?
Put yourself in each of these “personas” and list the tasks (goals) that you expect them to be performing while coming to your site. Ask yourself “Are these goals achievable?” from your site or perhaps another University site? If not, then make note of them and let’s schedule a virtual meeting to discuss them!
Let’s Do Some Housekeeping
There are numerous reporting and scanning tools that can help give you a deeper understanding of the “health” of your web site. These reports can include simple “bad link” reports to deeper dives into the underlying page information (metadata) that help search engines such as Google better understand and categorize the pages that make up your site. We can also do deeper dives into your site to find abandoned content that may no longer be actively linked but still possibly turning up in Google searches.
While it might be difficult to get excited about going through some of these housekeeping chores now, the effort you put into keeping your site focused and intentional in its purpose certainly be paid back in an improved experience for our site visitors. And the reality is that you’ll also be better positioning your site as Maxwell transitions into our next web platform during this coming year. There will be much more detailed communication about this transition in the coming semester but understand that time and effort put into a web site checkup now will be paid back several-fold as Maxwell’s next generation site is brought online!
Ready to Start?