Every web team is strapped for time, but most have no idea how much time they waste doing things manually when automated options are readily available. Here are four ways you’re wasting time maintaining your organization’s website.
Web Error Checking
Error checking is arguably the most obvious and important task in this list, because waiting for someone to complain about a mistake on your site isn’t a great “plan A.” It’s stressful, and the complaints always seem to come at the wrong time - to your boss, who freaks out.
Strangely, while most seasoned web managers have experienced this scenario, most have never set up any real method of preventing it. Sure, your CMS has a spell check, but that doesn’t account for human error.
If your CMS’s dictionary doesn’t have all your organization’s unique terminology, the web team will be ignoring the warnings faster than you can say “gosh, it would sure be swell if you guys could tell the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there.’”
At the end of the day, the vast majority of organizations expect their web teams to manually comb through the site to find errors, which is a huge time sink and still doesn’t get the site 100% clean.
It’s 2014. Humanity has landed robots on mars with self-piloting rocket cranes, created living human organs with a printer, and invented automatic methods of catching errors on your website.
Let the robots handle this so you can spend your time on more important things, like staying up to date on the internet’s astounding volume of silly cat videos.
Web Analytics Reporting
Status reports kill productivity. Generally, you can either do work or tell people about it.
Unfortunately for you, lots of people need to see what’s going on with the website because it affects their work. They don’t all care about the same sections, so if you plan to include everyone you’re going to spend a ton of time creating custom reports.
Automating your analytics reports is a silver bullet for time-sucking status reports. Everyone can see what’s happening with the website, and after the initial setup you don’t have to lift a finger to make it happen.
When everyone is well informed about what’s happening with the website, they’re way more likely to stay engaged in website upkeep. Nobody likes working on something without ever seeing results.
Let the robots have this one too.
Many organizations routinely waste hundreds of hours taking inventory of all the media, links, etc. on their websites.
To be clear, inventories aren’t a waste. Without them you might never catch the fact that Carol from Accounting is still listed under the “Contact Billing” form even though she retired last year. The waste is spending a month of man-hours getting it done.
Again: space robots and designer internal organs.
Modern technology has progressed to where you can scan your site and get a complete inventory with the click of a single button – and if you get the right tools, you don’t even have to click a button. Homer Simpson would be so proud.
Web Governance Enforcement
Consistency is key when establishing a web presence for your organization because the little things add up. Should your phone numbers be formatted with dots or dashes? What’s the maximum file size allowed for uploaded photos? How do you catch hotlinked images?
Instead of having a human try to give a once-over to every page created, let a robot do it. They’re fast, accurate, and unlike an intern they’ll never send you results formatted as a bunch of discombobulated screenshots dumped into a Microsoft Word document.
So quit wasting your time doing things manually when there are perfectly good robots to do it for you. Click here to check out what Siteimprove can automate for you.
Do you know of a method of automation we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.