After several years of working on websites for school districts, water districts and municipalities, we’ve noticed certain patterns that tend to repeat themselves.
This is one of the most common: we’re told near the start of the project that the content on some or all of the sections and pages needs to be revised, and perhaps reorganized to become more user-friendly. We then work with the content auditors for each client to discuss beneficial changes, and submit those revised drafts for approval.
But at the last moment, just before final confirmation of the new section is given, the client has second thoughts, and opts instead to keep his or her section mostly intact. A few minor edits are accepted, but the larger changes that would impact content organization and navigation are not implemented.
Yes, Change is Scary
Whether it’s a new hairstyle or a voting preference, any change always runs some risk of disappointing results.
And when a detrimental change could reflect poorly on a person’s job performance, there may be even more reluctance to take a chance.
But here’s why we think this fear of change must be conquered.
1. This is why you hired us.
If maintaining the status quo was the goal, there was no need to launch this project and invest the time and money necessary to make it happen.
2. Progress requires change.
There are other actions we can take to help improve a client’s webstats even without such changes – but that task becomes more difficult without beneficial content upgrades.
3. We’ve done this before.
This is our business. We’ve worked with dozens of clients of all sizes and types in the public sector, and we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to upgrading a website. After the new site is launched we track the webstats and they always – always – trend in the right direction, sometimes dramatically so.
Example: This is what happened after the City of Santa Ana accepted our changes and launched its new website:
- Total sessions increased 21%
- Time spent on the site by visitors increased 47%
- The number of users increased nearly 12%
- The number of new users increased by 14%
- The number of pages visited on the site increased 79%
- The bounce rate dropped 40%
4. You can always go back.
A website that is altered can always revert back to its previous form should a change prove detrimental.
Do not let fear of change impede what your website can achieve. While the status quo might seem like a safer option at the eleventh hour, it can hinder the accomplishment of the objectives you established at the start of the project.
And speaking of changes…
A recent Supreme Court ruling will open the floodgates on ADA lawsuits against companies with a website that is not fully accessible to those with disabilities.
It has never been more critical to make sure your site is in compliance.