Back in early March, I wrote about the importance of thinking through your reasons and objectives before redesigning your website. Today I want to be a little more specific, and write about the constant process you should be going through in order to tweak and improve your site.
Some people think that once you have designed and launched your website, the hardest part is done. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although the planning and work you have put into the original concept and design of your site was no doubt a lot of hard work, the real challenge comes once you launch.
You need to add content, attract traffic and in the case of an online community, promote interaction. Just because your site has been released does not mean it is the finished article.
You need to keep on top of your site, and always tweak and improve it. This does not mean undertaking a full redesign every couple of months – this would be a waste of your time and a frustration for your visitors. You should always be looking at small ways you can improve your website. Do you think a page is a little unclear? Then fix it. Are your users complaining about a section of your site? Then fix it.
Go through your site’s traffic logs. What is the most popular exit page? Why do you think that is the case? Could it be improved in order to prevent ‘visitor leakage’?
Another good idea is to look through your site’s error logs. Look out in particular for those 404 errors – these should be fixed as a matter of priority. You don’t want people losing their way as they navigate around your site. Most will give up there and then, never to return again.
What are your most successful pages? What are the pages that attract the most search engine traffic? Could some of the attributes of these pages be transferred onto others?
Always look at small ways of improving your site – even simple errors such as spelling mistakes should be corrected as soon as you come across them. I find myself making tweaks to my most established sites at least every week – be it new advertising strategies, or improvements in specific page layouts. This keeps your site running optimally without putting yourself and your users through the pain of a site-wide redesign.