We manage a lot of websites for our clients, some of which we’ve worked on for 10+ years.
Throughout this time, we’ve seen a wide variety of approaches our clients take to manage their website — some vastly more successful than others. The most effective management processes all have one thing in common: a primary website gatekeeper.
Let’s talk about why we always recommend having a single gatekeeper for your website and how it can improve the quality and flow of content to your website.
The first benefit to having a primary gatekeeper is that they can ensure that information is displayed consistently throughout the site and that the content looks good.
When we build a website, we design it so that our clients will have flexibility and autonomy to build beautiful, dynamic pages. The pros of using tools like Advanced Custom Fields and Custom Post Types is that web pages can be laid out dynamically and tailored to the content, as opposed to forcing the content to fit a rigid template.
The challenge with this approach is that increased flexibility leaves room for inconsistency across the site, especially if there are too many cooks in the metaphorical kitchen. Even so, we feel that offering our clients the ability to build visually interesting-pages is a benefit that outweighs the risks.
The best way to ensure your website stays fresh without getting off-brand is to have a primary gatekeeper who is solely responsible for either adding or approving content. That way, there is a single set of eyes tracking the way information is presented.
Another benefit to having a gatekeeper for your website is an improved stream of internal communication.
The primary gatekeeper will develop a deeper familiarity with the information needed when adding new content to a site, and can communicate it early to other stakeholders.
For example, if a new event needs to be added to the site, the gatekeeper should ask for necessary information, including:
Creating a procedure for determining and transcribing this information early on in the event planning process will help ensure a smoother experience for website users on both the back- and front-end.
Lastly, having a single gatekeeper who is invested in the upkeep of a site will inevitably result in them developing a unique perspective on improvements that can be made to the user experience and user interface.
If there is just one person most frequently responsible for updating the site and digging into the back-end, then they will likely find opportunities for refining the site structure and tools.
The primary gatekeeper should be empowered to think critically about the site and suggest improvements and optimizations, and truly own the site.
Consider implementing a monthly review to audit the site to make sure the content and plugins are up to date and that the site feels fresh and dynamic. Our clients that have monthly meetings are constantly implementing new layout styles, refreshing old pages, refining the user experience, and looking for SEO improvements.
Like we always say, your website is a work of art: never finished, only abandoned.
Don’t have the budget or a team dedicated to make incremental improvements to your site? That’s ok! Starting to think critically about areas on the site to improve and building a wish list for a refreshed site will go a long way toward envisioning and starting the redesign processes when the time comes. (Just make sure you avoid having too many stakeholders in your website redesign.)
If you’re the primary gatekeeper on your site, or are looking to designate one, here are some best practices to keep in mind when posting content or beginning a website redesign.