March 1, 2020
Do Regular Reality Checks – Pick a few tasks every month that you know the public needs your site to accomplish. Use the site to do those tasks from start to finish. If you have trouble finding where to start the task then consider bringing the prompt for that task further forward or adding it to your quicklinks. If you find there’s information missing on how to complete it then add a few bullet points introducing the task explaining what to do.
Have a Content Review Schedule – Content gets old! Keeping up with old content is an ongoing housekeeping task like doing the dishes (there’s always more). So, the best thing is to have a review cycle once every few months. Have departments help you! Having a zone defense to have a regularly scheduled eye on content is the best way to keep old/inaccurate information off the site.
Use Your Customer Service Data – Another great way to figure out where you need to beef up / edit content is to mine the questions that repeat in email and phone calls. Have a regular short survey that you send out to public facing staff and ask them what top questions come in. Reality check where on the site those questions are answered and pull that information forward if you think it’s necessary (or make a social media post linking to the information!)
Don’t Use PDFs As Webpages – Pdfs are for printable documents. They should never the only way that a piece of information is communicated (because that’s bad ADA). A main navigation link should never point to a PDF. PDFs should compliment a webpage, not replace it.
Forms Should Always Have Online Instructions – How do I fill it out? What are the ways I can turn this in? Who is the contact if I have questions? Those are three pieces of information that should be readily visible on the webpage with any online or downloadable form.
Why Content Strategy Is Important For Local Governments
Staff Time – When websites answers questions well people call less. This leads to a more efficient use of staff time.
Improved Public Service – When information is more effectively shared with the public they are served better by your municipality.
Long Term Savings – Properly managing website content in a scaled way helps to keep the website sharpened as a tool. This leads to a longer time period before needing to contract out refresh and speeds up the website refresh process.