IT intelligence: Website content

Sue Fidler recommends an analysis of how people use the content on your website.

Marketers are used to hearing the refrain "content is king", and since the advent of the internet it has become more than just a truism.

Making your content work is important on two fronts. First, you need to attract your audiences, get them to the right information and then keep them interested enough to come back. So organising your content and making it attractive are crucial to both the usefulness and the stickiness of your website.

Add Google Analytics and make sure you track routes through the site and exit pages. If visitors click on a section and then exit before getting to the real content, you can tell that they were looking for something and didn't find it. This is particularly important for actions you want them to take. If they click the donate button but exit before donating, something is wrong; they have shown intent but something has put them off.

The second thing content needs to do is make the site relevant and 'new'. Having new stories or news on the home page makes the site look like it is being updated and refreshed on a regular basis. Committed supporters want to see new information about the cause and new things they can do. Replacing the top story once a week keeps the site fresh.

But be warned: one of the most off-putting aspects of a home page is a news section that doesn't get refreshed on a very regular basis. If you don't generate enough news to be able to change the stories weekly, don't have a news section. It is better to have a block of stories and add one when you can than to have a news column that never gets updated. It will make the site seem uncared for and will quickly stop people coming back.

 - Sue Fidler is an independent charity ICT and internet consultant


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