While many website owners are excited to get in and start making changes, there are also those that are overwhelmed with the concept of managing their website.
If you fall closer to the overwhelmed side, don’t worry. While keeping your website up-to-date and looking good does take some effort, you don’t have to be an experienced designer or developer to succeed.
The best approach for learning to manage your website is to start small and work your way up. If you follow these tips, you’ll be making website updates like an expert in no time.
Get familiar with your websiteAs a first step, you should have a thorough understanding of your website’s editing capabilities.
If you’re starting a new website project, set clear expectations on what tools will be in place and how much control you will have over the content.
If working with an existing site, find out what editing tools you have available.
If you aren’t going through a web developer to make changes to your website, it’s most likely that you are using a content management system (CMS).
Familiarize yourself with the CMS for your website and ask for the necessary training to use it properly. Find out what limitations you might have and if there are any specific workflows you should be following when making updates.
If you were provided design or content templates, make sure they are clear and you have the software necessary to use them. If you will be making major changes, you’ll likely want to find out if your website has any backup protocols in place. If you make a mistake, is there a way to roll back content? Frequent backups of your website will help to circumvent any issues with losing content.
Understanding the tools you’ll be using and what resources are available to you is crucial for setting the foundation of proper website management.
Control website accessWebsites can run into problems when there multiple people making updates with little coordination. Instead, consider limiting access to a core team and make sure that anyone with access to edit your website goes through the proper training.
Put the proper workflows in place to manage who has access so you don’t lose track of who all has editing capabilities.
Also, consider assigning a primary person or team to review or test any changes. This will help to avoid errors and inconsistencies in design elements and page content.
Update oftenAs a general rule, your website should be updated frequently.
This is good for lead generation and SEO, but is also helps you to get more experience using your editing tools. If you only make website changes once every few months, you’ll more likely to forget how to do so.
Practice makes perfect!
Stay organizedPoor organization can be a roadblock to your website management efforts. To make your life easier, consider the following:
- Practice good file management. Keep assets like images and PDFs well-organized on your website to avoid duplicate or outdated files. Review and remove any unused files that should not be linked to from the website.
- Don’t clutter up your site structure. Make sure your site navigation is clear and optimized and for your users. (Learn more about how to create effective navigation.)
- Use organization tools. Put together content calendars or other documentation to help with planning and implementing updates.
- Document commonly used processes. If the same types of updates are consistently needed for your website, document the steps needed for quick reference in the future.
Learn how to work with imagesWorking with images for the web is one of the most common struggles for clients.
From choosing the right images to properly optimizing images, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Work with your web professionals to determine how and when you should update the images on your website.
To get started, you need a good tool for editing images.
If you’ll just need to make simple adjustments like resizing photos, you might consider a free option like Gimp or Canva’s photo editor. If you will be doing more advanced work, consider purchasing software, like Photoshop and Sketch.
Ask for any information or resources you need to properly update your website’s images, such as if there are templates or specific dimensions you should be using.
Understand how to properly optimize images for web, particularly for mobile users. Also, make sure your images are high-quality, whether that’s custom photography or stock photos.
Stick with predefined stylesIf your website is built well, it should have well-structured styles and templates in place so all you need to do is build on these predefined elements.
Typically, it’s best to avoid trying to add new styles or adjust layout without the help of a developer.
For example, consider if you are adding text to a page and decide you have a heading that needs to stand out.
See what heading and text styles are available to you and apply one of those instead of changing things like font size or color randomly. This helps to keep design elements and branding consistent throughout your website, which improves the user experience.
If you’re finding that you don’t have the tools and styles necessary to format your content effectively, talk to your web team about possible site upgrades.
Know when to ask for helpWhen all else fails, reach out to the professionals!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your developers or designers when needed. Especially if your website has just recently launched, it might take a while to be entirely self-sufficient in managing your website.
Work with your web team to find out how to make requests and understand your options for website assistance. If you are repeatedly reaching out for help with the same tasks, find out if there are any upgrades possible to allow you to complete those tasks yourself in the future.
Investing in the proper tools and technologies will pay off in the long run. If you don’t have what you need to properly manage your website, it might be time to consider an update.
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