Siteimprove Web Governance Blog

How Maintaining Your Website Saves Time and Headache

Posted by Dave Schneider

1/16/14 9:19 AM

ImageGen.ashx4“I don’t have time to quality assure my site. I’m already swamped with too many other things, and that’ll just have to wait until life settles down a bit.” Sound familiar? Time management is a daily struggle for most website managers, and all too often they deal with pressing deadlines by turning a blind eye to the quality of their website content. Unsurprisingly, this usually doesn't go well. Here are three good reasons why you actually need to keep your site the cleanest when you’re buried under a heavy workload:

1. Website content issues have terrible timing

Unnoticed issues become emergencies at the worst possible times, and can force you to drop everything else you’re doing to take care of them.

Let’s set the stage:  You’re working feverishly on the upcoming website redesign project due next week, and for a brief moment you actually start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The late nights substituting caffeine for sleep are starting to create something that looks like it could satisfy every department’s fickle demands.  A few more days of this and people might actually be smiling when you launch.

Then your horrible, awful phone rings.

It’s the VP of something-or-other, and they’re furious at you personally because their nephew hit a broken link while trying to apply for an internship. They want the link fixed immediately, a full report on how many people the broken link affected, an office-wide email explaining the situation, and daily updates on what you’re doing to make the website error free.

So much for a happy website launch.

2. When it rains, it pours

If the situation above reminds you of some repressed memories, you know that these kinds of things snowball. If it doesn’t, I’d like to congratulate you on your recent college graduation.

After the humiliating email to the office, everyone suddenly becomes an amateur treasure hunter, trolling the website with their metal detectors for buried typos. Your inbox fills up with, “I think there should be a comma here,” and “shouldn’t this be a semicolon?”

Each email saps your time because if you ignore it and someone with an acronym for a job title finds out, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. If you were able to remove your nose from the grindstone, you’d see your website redesign project collecting dust and the light at the end of the tunnel fading to black.

[Whoa, that was super dramatic! There’s a light at the end of this blog - just read a little further and don’t answer your phone.]

3. Stress kills

Neat-o fact: stress is really bad for you.

Aside from feeling really unfun, stress can cause a host of health problems, poor performance and burnout. The health problems are bad enough, but poor performance and burnout means more treasure hunters, which causes more stress. Like Lance Armstrong’s doping debacle, it’s a cyclical problem.

Fortunately it’s also an entirely treatable problem, which brings us to the happy, sun-shiny light at the end of this blog:

How to prevent website induced stress

I know what you’re thinking: “sounds scary, but I still don’t have time to do anything more than what’s on my plate right now.”  The good news is you don’t have to!

Automation and delegation are your two new best friends. You can automate the discovery of broken links, misspellings, web accessibility issues, and a bunch of other things with tools like Siteimprove, and even streamline the process for fixing them.  Once they’ve been identified, you can delegate responsibility for fixing them to the people responsible for creating them automatically.

As the old saying goes, “many hands make light work of irate nepotistic vice presidents.”

If this situation had involved automated discovery and delegation tools, it could have gone very differently.  Instead of getting blindsided in the 11th hour and led through the office in stocks and chains, the issue could have been caught before it became a problem, or you could have been aware of it and prepared to give an account:

“Yes, unfortunately the broken link is a known issue that we’re currently working to fix. The link has been clicked a total of three times, and is currently assigned to [editor], who usually fixes them within 24 hours. I’ll contact [editor] immediately to alert them to the top priority of this issue.”

It sure is bright at the end of the tunnel.

Topics: Web Governance

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