It’s Mid-Year Review time. This means dusting off the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year and evaluating how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished and what goals I may have missed. It’s not always easy to do this. How honest can I be with myself? Can I admit that I didn’t hit some of my goals? Even harder, can I accept and celebrate my accomplishments?
The point of a Review is not to point out mistakes. It’s not even meant to be the torturous process that some people make it out to be. It’s meant to be a roadmap and provide guidance. It’s important not only for individuals to do this, but also organizations. Especially in regards to an organization’s website.
Some people get into the trap of thinking that a website is static. There is a misleading and severely out-dated notion still floating around out there that proclaims that once a website is built, that’s it. If you want to increase site traffic, raise more money, increase your housefile and improve the user experience of your website though, you will have to accept change. Part of accepting change is taking time to review the goals you’ve set out for your website. It could be bi-annually, it could be quarterly, or it could even be monthly. It’s completely up to you. As long as there is some time set aside to re-evaluate where you’re going.
Doing this does not mean that every time you review your site you’ll need to make drastic changes. On the contrary, it can help reduce drastic changes (which can be costly, time-consuming and very frustrating) since regular maintenance and revision can help weed out problems and issues. It can also help you decide what’s worth keeping and what should be eliminated. Some web content requires a bit of time before you can truly evaluate its impact or relevance.
This also does not mean you should beat yourself up every time you fail to meet your goals. Inevitably you will fail to meet some of them. Sometimes all of them. Accept that and use the opportunity and energy to move towards what you do want to see in the future.
Here are just a few questions you might ask yourself when evaluating your website:
- What were the original goals that were set out for the website? Are they still relevant?
- Who are my users, what are their current practices and what are their needs? (Why are they visiting my website?)
- Do I have good quality content that is succinct and interesting to my users? If the answer is no or maybe or you’re not sure, check out these articles from A List Apart, Writing Content that Works for a Living and Content Templates to the Rescue, about generating top quality content. Because it is more important than you might think!
- What has been successful for the site? What hasn’t?
- Where do I see the site in a year? In two years?
I can’t guarantee that evaluating where you are and how far you’ve come will be painless. Facing my own Mid-Year Review will force me to ask some tough questions of myself. But therein lies the opportunity.
Many organizations already have some type of review process in place. If that is the case for you, what kinds of questions do you ask yourselves? How does reviewing your website and your goals help you?