Spring Clean Your Website – Part 1

[This article is part of a 4-part series on cleaning up your website. Check out the other articles on freshening up your design, copy and links.]

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[Image: Flickr user bies]

At home, the flower beds are clean, the trees are pruned and the windows are sparklingly clear. I, probably like most of you, have been doing spring cleaning, and working my way down a list of home maintenance and improvement tasks. It’s satisfying to check those items off and look at the polished result.

At work, I’m also doing spring cleaning, and I hope some of you are too. I like to take some time every six months or so (call the second session fall clean-up) to tidy up some of the messiness that has worked its way into our website over the winter months. It’s also a good time to stand back and make some critical decisions about the functionality of your website and evaluate the direction you’re headed. Websites should never sit stagnant, and putting some time on the calendar at least twice a year to evaluate your strategy should be a given.

This week, we’ll guide you through a clean-up and revitalizing process that you can follow on your own website. Today we’ve got three things you can do to prep for your week of good housekeeping.

Put together a clean team. You’re about to do a major clean-up and make some big decisions. It’s not something one person should do alone, so put together a task force. If you are an army of one, just make sure to pace yourself. Here’s a good model for putting together a team:

  • You should have someone at a high level who can either make these decisions or who has the power to put them on the schedule for evaluation.
  • Also appoint someone to act as project manager. The person to put together a schedule, arrange meeting times and generally make sure everyone is moving along.
  • Finally, have one or more people to do the busy work: someone to update copy, remove dead links, make little changes. Volunteers can be a big help here.

Dedicate half an hour every day. Consistency is the key to spring cleaning – not killing yourself with work. Just set aside half an hour or an hour every day for a week to evaluate what needs to be done. Your task may take longer than half an hour, but you’ll be able to budget how much time you’ll need to do it in half an hour.

Set up a place to submit comments/ideas. While you’re cleaning up the website you have, you’re going to have ideas about the website you wish you had. Establish a place for you and your team to submit ideas or discoveries so you can decide if you want to add new functionality to your website. Check out this earlier post Make a Better Website with a User Survey for ideas of how to collect ideas and responses.

Good luck setting up today. Tune in tomorrow for the next step in your polished-up website, and click here to see all stories about spring cleaning.

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