≡ Menu

Interactive Minds, a great new networking group in Brisbane

I was lucky enough to go to the first networking event for Interactive Minds today. The topic was ‘Measuring online success – Beyond the click’ and had guest speakers from the REA Group and Omniture. It was a great event, good to see something like this starting up in Brisbane.

October’s event will focus on ‘What customers want’ and also offers some good guest speakers, including Tania Lang from Peak Usability.

If you are in Brisbane, make sure you check out the Interactive Minds website for more details.

Hooked on metrics

For anyone who has a website, it’s vitally important that you have some way of collecting information on how visitors discover and use your site. I’ve had exposure to a wide range of tools at different companies that I’ve worked for – some very simple, some unnecessarily complex.

Now that I have my own site up and running, I must say that I’m really impressed with Google Analytics.

It’s easy to install – if you use WordPress, you can use a plugin to insert the code on your pages, very simple.

It’s easy to use – even a novice can interpret the reports and make positive changes to improve traffic, conversion rates, and content.

It’s free and surprisingly comprehensive.

So, if you are not capturing metrics on your site, go and check out Google Analytics. All you have to do is sign up for an account. You’ll be provided with code to insert on your site to enable data to be collected. You can log into your account whenever you like to view reports.

It’s as simple as that.

(If you are in Australia, there is a company called Panalysis that holds a variety of Google Analytics courses. I’ve done one, and found it was excellent. )

Time to spring clean your content

Spring has sprung in Australia. The days are beautiful – blue skies, no wind, warm temperatures. Gardens are bursting with colour and the birds are singing. Oh, it’s hard to sit in front of a computer at the moment!

Spring prompts us to open our houses up, freshen up decor, clean away the dust.

It’s also a perfect time to have a good look at your web content – does it need some sprucing up as well?

Is your content working?
Review the goals of your site against your metrics. How are your conversions? Where is your traffic coming from? What search terms are being used to find your site? Do you collect data on your internal search engine as well? How’s your bounce rate? Now, take all this information and ask – is my content working for me? You may need to use more keywords, give better descriptions of products, or ensure instructions are clear.

Is there any content that needs to be archived?
Outdated, inaccurate, or excessive content weighs down a site and turns it into a maintenance nightmare. Take a look at your review schedule – identify areas that can be archived. A site that is obviously kept up-to-date builds more credibility with visitors than a site that is full of old pages. If you have a ‘news’ section, make sure items are added regularly.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it
Of course, if everything is working nicely – don’t mess with it! Don’t be tempted to change the design, structure or tone of the site just for the heck of it. It’s a recipe for disaster. 

What are your spring cleaning tips for your website?

How to approach a content migration

The past couple of big projects that I’ve worked on have been content migrations – migrating an existing site to a new content management system (CMS). If you’ve ever tackled one before, you’d know that there are lots of things to consider in order to make the migration a success.

So here’s the biggest tip that I can offer:  Plan, plan, and plan some more.

It’s always tempting to jump in and ‘just start doing it’. But please take the time – weeks if you are able to – to sit down and plan exactly how you are going to approach the migration. Fingers crossed you have been invited in at the start of the project so that you can have input into the overall project planning as well. 

Consider:

The platform you are migrating to
What unique quirks does the CMS have in store for the content? I’m working on a MOSS implementation at the moment, and some of the out-of-the-box features of the product have had major content implications.

User research
What do your users think of your site at the moment? Is now the time to address some of the usability issues that you may have? Or is it best to leave things as they are (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it)?

Metrics
Understand the top content of your site. If your timeline is tight (and for a large migration it probably will be), having a good idea of what content is currently being accessed the most will mean you will be able to prioritise the time spent on each section.

Information architecture
Are you changing the IA or keeping it the same? If you are going to change it – promote the new IA to business areas and have a plan in place to maintain the integrity of it.

Resources
How many people do you have to migrate the content? Will you have enough people to conduct a review of the content, or will it be just a straight migration?

So much to consider! My next post will look at some of the other challenges you may encounter when conducting a migration. If you’ve got any migration questions, please contact me.