Lost Navigation, Tired Designs, Broken Links, Oh My!

Sites begin to show were when the are not maintained properly.  Like that surprise summer storm that hits when we least expect, you look at your site and find an onslaught of new broken links, either by the frantic updates that happen or a slightly longer than meaning time to check such things.  The reports hit me like a bolt, “My God, how did this happen, why and can’t we fix these before they happen?”

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Unless you have a CMS with a fail safe way to check broken links you will run into this issue again and again.  Working with sites and maintenance means constant checking of broken links, refresh of content and a standardized look and feel.  There is nothing more obvious in a website, than browsing around and seeing page designs that look antiquated, yet still exist on the site, nothing more frustrating than finding broken links or references to articles over 2 years old.

It’s when you stroll your site, and you suddenly feel like you are Dorothy, going through her travels to Oz…

lions, bears and tigers , oh my!

Lions, Tigers , and Bears…Oh My!

But it is your site…

Here are habits that can help tame the beasts and calm the storms…

1. Constant and timed broken link reports

Make a monthly habit of going through your website with a link checker and fixing all those bad links with regularity. When looking at broken link reports, look at the content holistically, why is there a broken link,. Is it user error or did we more the content and why was it moved or removed, will that make this page that references the broken item a useless page on our site?

2. Content audits

Read, look and study you site content.  If you encounter broken links on pages, usually that is key to refresh the content on your pages.

Redesign or Scrap?

Knowing that page designs come and go with the latest trend or whim of upper management, makes you aware that you will have entire sections of a site build on an old look.  Sometimes it’s maybe only noticeable to you, but sometimes it’s glaringly old, and you will need to think about the options of revamping the look or removing the pages all together.

Don’t throw or do throw… the baby out with the bath water?

It is sometimes called for as the cost of spending time to create an updated design, then rewrite content to fit into that new page design and create all new graphics and collateral for the pages – will outweigh the benefits of keeping that content in the first place.

In the world of technology things change constantly, so it’s best sometimes to start from scratch rather then spend your time mending material that is even 6 months old.  Think about your line of business, how drastic do things change, are you doing something that needs to change constantly or are you working on stable ideas with products that change hardly at all.

It’s something to work on and think about if you are maintaining an online presence of any kind.

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