Between new projects that improve your site and the critical weekly work to maintain a healthy website, it takes just as much work to support a website as it does to build it in the first place!
Nonprofit staff often wear two or three hats in their organization, so it can be challenging to find time for website work. Luckily, maintaining your site doesn’t have to be hard work. It can even be fun and a good break from other work.
Along with the new year’s tasks and spring cleaning tasks for your website, here are 6 more simple tasks you can do on a Friday afternoon that make your website better. When you’re out of steam but can’t go home yet, these tasks give you the best of both worlds:
- You can usually do them without thinking too hard, so getting interrupted by your Executive Director won’t totally derail your work. (Some thinking required. Batteries not included.)
- They will demonstrably make your website better over time.
Just like a new habit. Something that only takes a short bit of time, when repeated, can lead to huge results for your organization in the long term!
Once a month, sit down and fire up your analytics software. See if you can find one valuable insight or ask a question of your data that can inform your work.
What can you learn about your stakeholders? Examples include:
- Did the people who read our most recent blog post stay on the site after they arrived? (Look at Bounce Rate, Time on Site, and Exit Percentage.)
- Did visitors to our annual gala page come primarily from social media, search, or directly to the site from a link? (Look at Referral Sources.)
- What are the top 3 landing pages for the site. Do I know why these three are the top? (Look at Landing Pages.)
- For visitors to our “Donate” page, what’s the last page they looked at before their arrival? Does that page prepare people to make a meaningful donation? (In Google Analytics, check out the Site Flow tool.)
- Make up more questions to learn and improve your site slowly! Ask your E.D. and board if there are questions they’d like answered too.
Schedule Social Media Posts
Hopefully you’re using a tool like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Buffer, or even just Facebook to schedule your social media posts. Write five tweets or three Facebook posts and schedule them to go out next week! Your future self gives you a high-five!
Draft a Blog Post
If you’re anything like me, blog posts are best when they’ve marinated for a while, so Work on a blog post that you don’t need to post immediately. Do as little or as much as you can stomach:
- Write three draft posts with catchy titles and brief bulleted outlines you can fill in later.
- Start writing about the thing you worked hardest on this week. It’ll be easier to write about since it’s on your find.
- What’s the big news in your mission area right now? Find three good articles and write a post linking to them while discussing how you’re contributing on that issue.
- Pull in social media posts from your followers to show the amazing work done by your supporters!
These are the kinds of posts that don’t have to be published right away, but will be there when you need to fill in an empty week or month on your content calendar.
Audit ONE Page
Copy and paste the contents of a page from your website into Word or Google Doc.
At the very top of your page in bold, all-caps, red text, write out:
REASON FOR COMING TO THIS PAGE:
Fill these in with the primary who (e.g. “Parents of preschools”), why (“Determine the entry age and requirements for signing up”), and next step (“Fill out interest form”) for that page.
With that information in hand:
- Make the page as short as possible
- Include the most important details at the top of the page
- Using headings and bullets to break up information and call out important details
- Prominently link to the next step
Voila! You’ve almost certainly made your website better, likely in less than an hour. Repeat this a few weeks in a row and you’ll really start to see results.
Audit Your Users
Once every few months, head on over to “Users” in your dashboard. From there, make sure that every user:
- Is still an active site editor who actually needs an account.
- Actually needs the level of access they have. (Could some Admins be made into Editors?)
Delete or demote users as needed.
Important note: Make sure to attribute content to a new user when deleting an existing user! Otherwise, anything they wrote will be deleted.
Look for Broken Links
Use the W3C link validator to test one or more pages of your site for broken links. Focus on your most heavily trafficked pages first and go to your analytics (see above!) if you don’t know what those are! If you don’t find any broken links, good job! If you do, get those fixed!
There you have it! These are simple tasks that are bite-sized but will still demonstrably improve your site if you keep at this week after week. So go carve out a bit of time this Friday, and see what you can do!
Photo Credit: Damian Zaleski on Unsplash