Maintaining Your Website
Once a website is live, it must be maintained. This means making sure that all live content on a site is relevant, accurate, and current--and continues to meet users’ needs. Maintenance can range from something as simple as correcting a typo to adding a new widget to highlight a new offering to hiding or deleting outdated content.
Designated Drupal editors should be familiar with the following for their department/program/office:
- The site’s main goals and objectives. What is the key purpose of the site? What key message(s) do we want the audience to walk away with?
- Target audience. Are you writing and presenting content in a way that appeals to your audience? What are the needs of your key audience, and are you meeting those needs?
- Key tasks and calls to action. What tasks are users coming to your site to perform? Are they looking for information? Applying to a program?
Tips and suggestions to keep your website up-to-date:
- Don’t create more content than you can realistically maintain. The site will start to look outdated and possibly abandoned. When possible, use “evergreen” content that does not need frequent updating.
- Remember, users don’t read, they scan. Keep sentences short and be concise; bulleted lists can help. Check out best practices for writing for the web.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Can you quickly find relevant information and calls-to-action? Is anything missing?
- Highlight points of pride. Think about your department or program’s noteworthy features, such as award-winning faculty or students, cutting-edge equipment, outcomes, community involvement, etc.
- Consider updating your imagery on a regular basis or rotating schedule (see Campus Photos). High quality photos of students and faculty actively engaged in an interesting task help to highlight the experience and culture of the department.
- Don't be afraid to use widgets. Use a highlight box to feature an upcoming event, recent news story, video, faculty or student accomplishment, or other exciting happenings within your area. Have an important deadline you need to make sure your audience knows about? Put it in a timely box. Have content to share but not sure which widget would be best? Send a ticket to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team can advise.
- Helpful hint: If you are highlighting content that is time sensitive (e.g. a deadline), put a note in your calendar to go back into the site the next day to remove it so your site does not appear outdated.
- Make sure all of your events and announcements are tagged to display on your page.
- Have faculty or colleagues in your department been features in a WPI news story? Add the News widget to your site. If the specific story does not appear, send a ticket to email@example.com.
- WPI Today can be a source of other events, news, or stories outside of your area or discipline that may be of interest to your audience and highlighted on your site.
How often should I be updating my website?
Websites can appear outdated fast, and nothing turns away visitors more than a website with outdated content, or a website that makes it too difficult for users to do the things we want them to do.
- Establish a schedule to review your site, update your content (including removing outdated content), and make sure all links are working (click all links on your site just to be sure). This timeline will vary depending on your particular site and department or program. Whether it's biweekly, monthly, or by term, block off time in your Outlook calendar as a regular reminder to conduct a website review.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Can you quickly find information and calls-to-action? Is key information missing?