This post is for non-technical people who manage web content. It will help you avoid some of the most common problems related to website content.
By far the biggest mistake with website content is what you DON’T do: keep it up-to-date. It can be a daunting task, whether your site has dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of pages. But few things will put off visitors and even discredit your organization faster than dated content. If visitors go to your calendar of events and find no new events posted since six months ago, it may be a sign to them that they can’t trust any of the content on your site.
Don’t let your content get out of date. Here’s how:
It’s tempting to just copy the content right out of a printed brochure and paste it into your website. Usually that is a mistake. People read websites differently than they read printed pieces. In fact people generally don’t READ websites, they scan them. So before you just copy and paste from your print materials, follow this checklist for web copy:
There are also minor technical snafus when you copy and paste text from printed materials (or from Word documents – see mistake #3). For example, watch for special characters (like quote marks, apostrophes and dashes) that do not work the same on websites as in print.
Have you ever copied text from a Word document and pasted it into your web content management system (CMS), only to find that this action messes with the formatting of the text on your site? That happens because text copied from Word (or other rich text documents) contains formatting that comes along for the ride and can wreak havoc on your website formatting in the process. And once it happens it’s hard to undo.
An ounce of prevention will save you a pound of cure… just don’t paste formatted text into a CMS or web authoring tool. First, copy the text from Word and paste it into a plain text document, then copy it again and paste it into your CMS. Or, if your CMS has a “Remove Formatting” button on the toolbar, paste in the text from Word, select it all, and click the “Remove Formatting” button.
Voila! It’s that easy. To learn more tips including how to get the undesirable formatting out of your CMS if you fall victim to the “pasted from Word” problem, read more on pasting formatted text into a CMS.
Are you SURE you want to use a JPEG of the logo? Selecting the right type of file for images on your website is an important part of “image optimization” — the art and science of getting the best looking, fastest loading images possible. Did you know that most logos should probably be GIF or PNG files, not JPEGs? That’s because most logos are designed with just a few colors and simple, bold lines and text — and those types of images reproduce best online as GIFs or PNGs. A photograph, on the other hand, almost always reproduces best online using a JPEG file format.
These are general rules of thumb:
Of course there are exceptions to any rule, and that’s where the art and science of image optimization comes in. Read more in-depth information about knowing when to use a JPEG v. a GIF v. a PNG.
Have you ever visited a website and it took forever (that’s like 15 seconds in internet time) for an image to load? The last thing you want to do is keep your visitors waiting while images load. At best it’s a bad experience, at worst they will get impatient and leave, never to return. Correct image optimization is critical to site performance and a positive user experience. And one of the biggest mistakes that adversely effects image loading time is reducing the physical size of an image in the CMS rather then before you place the image.
Read in-depth information about optimizing images for the web.
Video is extremely popular on the web and fortunately there are now easy and effective ways to get video content on your site. Posting video in Windows Media (.wmv) or Quicktime (.mov) video formats is not the way to go, however. Those video formats require the user’s computer to have Windows Media Player or QuickTime software installed, and many people do not have those applications. Fortunately there’s an easy way to get videos on your site.
To get video on your site just follow these simple steps:
That doesn’t sound like a mistake, does it? The mistake is the “I” better proofread it. Don’t even think about it if you are the author of the text! It is nearly impossible for us to accurately proof our own writing because we know what we want it to say. And hope fully you no u Kant trust Microscope Word or dream weavers’ spell chick to kitsch your errors, four they did knot I dent a fie a shingle mistake in this cent tense.
Here is the best way to proofread a website:
Is it time to start again at #1?
Yes, most likely just during the time you spent reading this article, something on your site has gone out of date. Better check it out!