Launched But Never Done: 4 Ways to Continuously Improve Your Website’s Performance
Launching a new website is a culmination of months — even years — of effort. And after devoting significant amounts of time, energy, and financial resources to the process, it's tempting to breathe a sigh of relief and declare your project "done."
In reality, though, you’re not closing the book on your website project. You’re simply turning the page to a new chapter in your organization’s story. And to tell that story effectively for the long-term — while also protecting and stewarding the investment you’ve just made — it’s essential to embrace a spirit of continuous improvement.
The philosophy of continuous improvement teaches that there is tremendous power in making incremental changes on an ongoing basis. Whereas a once-and-done approach leads to a decline in website performance over time, continuous improvement allows you to extend your site’s useful life and evolve its capabilities for the long run.
A flexible, scalable, and extensible CMS like Drupal is perfectly suited to support your continuous improvement efforts in 4 key areas.
1. Add New Website Features to Meet Your Audience’s Needs
Enterprise website projects can be expensive. And even if your organization’s initial development budget was robust, you may not have been able to include every feature you’d hoped for at your project’s outset. Not a problem. You can still reach your goals by prioritizing must-have features and incorporating additional wish-list items over time.
Drupal is built using a modular design, which makes it easy to add new features and capabilities without needing to rebuild or redesign your entire site. For example, you might start with a simple site that provides useful, engaging content and answers your audience’s most common questions. Then as time and resources permit, you could add a blog, a membership portal, an e-commerce store, or any number of other features.
One of our clients — an advocacy group for underserved communities — did just that. When they initially launched their new website, they focused on creating a simple and inexpensive brochure site. Later, they invested in adding calculators that allowed users to save money and better plan their finances. This allowed the client to build awareness of their service earlier and add value to users’ lives right away, and to incrementally build on a solid base of initial users.
Another client — a large membership organization in NYC — launched a very complex site from the get-go. But they later realized they needed to develop an app to support older members with specific user needs. Again, Drupal’s platform allowed them to seamlessly add this functionality in response to audience demand.
2. Respond Quickly to Market Changes and Stay Ahead of the Competition
The digital marketing landscape changes fast. And to reach your audience and drive your business forward, your website has to keep up. Drupal’s flexible nature makes it easy to adapt to everything from emerging technologies to new SEO requirements.
Case in point: Google is always evolving how it crawls, indexes, and ranks your content. And in recent years, the move to structured content and rich data has transformed the way search results are generated.
Whereas some websites had no schema in place to respond to the move to structured content and rich data, Drupal quickly offered updates to allow marketers to stay ahead of the curve.
3. Level Up Your Audience-Focused Content Strategy
Redesigning a website is a lot like formulating a hypothesis. You make changes to your content strategy, information architecture, and design in order to better serve — and more effectively reach — your audience. But you can’t prove or disprove your hypothesis until you launch your site and see how it performs.
Approaching your content strategy through the lens of continuous improvement enables you to:
- Assess the changes you’ve made and measure their impact
- Gather data to identify areas that aren’t delivering the results you envisioned
- Develop a methodical, data-driven plan to optimize the pages and elements that aren’t meeting your needs
A good CMS should give content editors across your organization what they need to continuously improve your website. For example, Drupal:
- Makes it easy to control who can edit or create content
- Allows you to set notifications that will remind you to review specific pieces of content
- Offers built-in SEO and accessibility checkers to speed up the content creation process
- Provides enhanced WYSIWYG (i.e., what you see is what you get) functionality so you and other content creators can quickly develop new pages and microsites
One university we worked with launched an inclusive, accessible website with fresh content across all departments. But they knew once the site was launched, there was a risk that content editors might create new content that failed to meet accessibility standards.
Therefore, they set a goal to achieve compliance across the entire university. Drupal enabled them to set up processes and workflows so they could efficiently check and approve every piece of new content with the university’s accessibility requirements in mind.
4. Extend Your Capability to Reach Organizational Goals
Organizations typically use a variety of digital platforms and solutions to empower employees to do their work more effectively. From Salesforce to charitable giving databases to email marketing tools, it seems there’s a custom tool for everything. And since technologies emerge and evolve so quickly, it’s common for organizations to try out new solutions on a regular basis.
This is another area where a commitment to continuous improvement can help you meet your goals. Whether you discover a tool isn’t working for you or you need to incorporate something entirely new, an extensible CMS like Drupal can help you achieve the connectivity you’re looking for.
Sometimes you’ll need to invest in a custom integration to achieve the capability you seek. But Drupal connects easily to a host of existing out-of-the-box APIs as long as they follow open standards such as REST.
Keep Your Website Functioning at Peak Performance
Your website is a complex piece of technology that requires ongoing care and attention. And no matter how much time and energy you’ve recently invested into your website’s launch, your new solution will eventually fail to meet your needs unless you make a sustained commitment to continuous improvement.
Investing in an ongoing engagement with ImageX is a smart way to ensure your website functions at peak performance not only today but for many years to come. We can provide expert advice and direction to help you focus on improving the areas that matter most. And we can handle every technical detail and implement changes on your behalf so you can focus on your other priorities.
Just reach out — we’d love to help.