I’m not sure about you, but it seems like the list of website updates and content edits never ends. Actually, it tends to grow every week. That’s why you and I need a process for reviewing and updating our content.
Somehow, transitions in routines always throw us off. Add a pandemic into the mix, and it’s easy to forget vital things that I have no problem remembering on a normal day. We’ve got to keep improving our review process!
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
Apparently, Einstein didn’t actually pen this quote—but it’s still just as true.
So, I’m entering my fourth major overhaul of organizing my website content process—and I thought it might be helpful for you to watch the process.
Manage the Urgent
In my role as website manager at Snowbird, the arrival of summer means I’m hyper-focused on providing information for groups on their way to camp. The summer season usually runs 13 weeks, and it’s the pinnacle of our year. Over 6,000 students and leaders come through every summer!
Things like schedules, emergency medical contacts, and meeting locations are high-priority. There is no room for error.
Our marketing team strives to maintain a forward-thinking mindset in the midst of it all. It’s our job to think 6-12 months ahead so that we aren’t caught off-guard later on.
We fight to avoid the tyranny of the urgent.
Urgent things are often the type of things that need to be done. Ignoring them isn’t the way forward. Urgent things impede momentum in your marketing if they aren’t taken care of.
It’s a tough balance!
Schedule the Important
Life is busy—that’s a fact.
Add in the fact that you’re running your own business, and your days are crazy busy. The reality is, important and effective work doesn’t come automatically. We can’t will ourselves into self-discipline, better memory, or more creativity.
But, here is the good news. All it takes to keep your website content updated is:
- A simple, repeatable process.
- Time to implement the process.
It’s got to be scheduled!
Yep, I said it. Put the important stuff on your calendar (work and everything else) and live by it. If it’s important enough to remember, get it on your calendar.
Once you adopt this new approach, your calendar will eat your task lists for breakfast. You’ll still need lists, but make sure you schedule out time to review/execute them (or you will just end up with more lists).
How does this relate to your website content?
- There are urgent things to update right now.
- There are important things you can’t forget.
It’s important to clarify which sections of your website fall into each category. And, it’s important to schedule the important areas! Don’t let them fall behind simply because you’re constantly putting out fires.
You need to create a content review schedule for your website. Every single page of your website should be examined and updated as needed.
What are the urgent things?
Many things on your website draw urgent attention for good reason. Sometimes, they even warrant a “drop everything to get this done” approach.
Some examples might be a pricing change, updates to your business hours, or even a new product announcement.
If you decided to add Rocky Mountain bikes to your shop in 2020, there’s no reason not to have photos and written content announcing the exciting news!
Or, if you’re constantly changing hours due to the pandemic crisis then it’s crucial that you have quick access to change that info.
Obviously, these are urgent edits to your website that shouldn’t sit in a waiting period very long. Confusing potential customers is not a great way to start a long-term relationship.
However, there’s also no reason for these urgent content updates to suck all of your website’s momentum down. It takes more than an accurate list of service offerings and store hours to win new clients and build loyal customers.
What are the important things?
There are important areas of your website that need to be reviewed on a regular basis—even when you don’t have new information to add.
Here are some examples:
- Homepage — This is likely the most-visited page on your site, better keep it fresh!
- Money pages — These are the sales pages that provide information on your products or services and include a clear call to action (or contact you).
- Contact page — Make certain your “Contact Us” page is exceptionally easy to understand and use. Don’t make people think, and don’t slow them down with over-information.
- About Us page — Hopefully, your mission doesn’t change very often. However, your staff picture shouldn’t include that high school intern from three years ago.
You should review every page on your site at least once each year. For a site like ours at Snowbird, that takes a well-planned system and scheduled times to implement the process. After all, your site will only grow each year!
Here’s where the Snowbird site stands in June 2020:
That’s a lot of website content to wrap my brain around!
What I’ve Used Before
I’m revised my content review process at four different points over the past several years.
- Google Docs – This was a bullet checklist of pages, directions, etc. for our team members. Two pages of bullet points never looked less inspiring than this outline I proudly prepped. Not surprisingly, not even I felt inclined to use it in my regular workflow. There were no fancy checkboxes or due dates—just a simple list.
- Trello – This was a Kanban board of pages to review and update each month, quarter, year, etc. I liked this setup, but no one else on our team used Trello and it was difficult to help others catch the vision of the project’s value. One benefit of Trello is its drag and drop feature/ I could drag over each page (on a virtual card) from the “to-do” to “done” lists and then start over each month.
- Dropbox Paper – Dropbox Paper is a visual checklist, very similar to a project sheet that could be created by hand. They hit a homer on due dates and assigned task reminders. However, they have no great features to handle recurring tasks. I had to copy/paste the list to repeat it every month. But, everyone on our team understood it very quickly.
My Revised Content Review Process
Here is my current content review process:
- List out every website page (and any evergreen blog posts).
- Group each page/post into an annual, quarterly, or monthly list.
- Block off consistent time on your calendar every month (Maybe the first Monday of every month?).
- Mark the date down when the content has been reviewed.
Back to the basics! I’m using a simple Google Sheet to track all the pages on my website, and other websites I manage. Each page will be grouped into lists according to how often they need to be reviewed or updated.
I approach each website page or blog post with one of these three levels of review frequency:
Spreadsheets lack a few features (like checkboxes and auto-alerts for deadlines). But there is strength in their simplicity. I’ve realized that I don’t always need the bells and whistles of fancy productivity tools.
Don’t overcomplicate things.
All it takes to keep your website content updated is:
- A simple, repeatable process.
- Time to implement the process.
Thankfully, this new schedule will help me remember the last time I updated content on each page of our website.
I hope you’re able to use this same process level up your own website content. Let me know how it goes!