Websites say a lot about your agency.
Whether you are a private sector company or a public entity, your web presence can say positive things like we know our key messages and what we offer to others or they can stand as confused, multi-message, full of information sites that say virtually nothing at all.
Now, before I go any further, Im going to be working on www.sm4em.org in the very near future so that it is cleaner and more exciting, but first things first, let me share and then remind myself to get to work. And, truth be told, Ive been working recently on a couple of other web design projects that you should see soon.
I attended a class recently that encouraged students to consider who our website audience is. And the first lesson is this..it CANNOT BE EVERYONE. Now, as a public servant, I had a hard time with this lesson because of course, we serve everyone, right?
While this is true, not everyone clicks on our websites. And its important to consider who is visiting your site.
In fact, there are two things that you need to know as you evaluate your website.
- Who is visiting your website?.. AND
- What is their journey? Where are your website visitors going when they visit your website.
If you know where your visitors are going, you can be sure that the information you need to share is more accessible and easy to reach.
Of equal importance is your ask of your website visitors..what are you TRULY asking them to do to engage with your agency?
Many websites miss this altogether. They offer information, often copious amounts of information, and never direct people to take any action.
The types of asks you could be making include.
- Signing up for regular newsletters,
- Signing up for emergency alerts or updates,
- Connecting on other social platforms,
- Volunteering, or
- Any other action which would help your agency.
If you are not asking your website visitors to take action, you may never see them again on your site or in person.
We often have a tendency to put way too much information on websites, as public agencies. Dont be afraid to minimize the information and clarify your call to action. Be sure that the information actually on your website is useful and working for you. Because, if you visitors cant find the information because its buried among 50 million other messages, it isnt working for you.
You must walk through your website as if you were an outsider to your agency. If you feel like you have too much information on your site, you probably do. Combing through websites to reduce information is something you (and I) should do regularly.
If you work in an agency with a website, take time today to truly evaluate how useful it is from your residents perspective.