Fiona Simmons is the Institute Clerical Assistant at the Institute for Social Renewal. Along with the Institute Administrator she is responsible for the Institute’s website, blog and social media channels.
The first step – Go Mobile training
As soon as my colleague and I sat down to fill in our ‘site purpose’ exercise we knew that Go Mobile was going to be a good thing for our website. A few diagrams and coloured pens later, we had identified:
- our core pages
- our main user tasks
- the business goals that we were to aim towards
At the planning and writing web content session it was brilliant to crystallise our thinking on what the Social Renewal website could do better if we gave our content a makeover.
The next training session, on editing in T4, was totally different. It took us from what was ideal and essential to what was possible. With new types of content available, it became clear how we could practically carry out our plans for a re-vamp. I went into this session with a great keenness to find out how to add link buttons, but I learnt much more!
I’d been looking forward to seeing how the new mobile responsive websites would look but was worried that our website would be the one that it just wouldn’t work for. When I’d finished the training, I realised that the team has a great understanding of our needs as an Institute. And the flexibility in the system would allow us to create content that was more consistent, usable and effective.
I loved getting a chance to practice re-writing content so that it is concise and clear, and working out the best way to structure a page.
We left the training with loads of ideas for the Social Renewal site, and so many options for how we could take it forwards. Of course, with all that enthusiasm comes a health warning.
It takes invested time to bring all this together. The main time-suckers are sourcing new images and re-imagining your site structure to reduce its depth. It’s worth it, and it’s rewarding, but the following will be useful:
- Fotor.com – for resizing your images
- Hemingway Editor – plug your written content in and see what comes out
- content templates – figure out your primary message, secondary message and supporting content
- a content calendar – use this to plan your web updates alongside your business calendar
Putting what we learned into practice
Now that the training has sunk in, we’re gearing up to have a re-think of our site content. We’ll use the templates that we’ve been given by the Corporate Web Team. In the meantime, just to tidy up our pages, I’m using lots of different types of new content, from social media buttons to tabbed pages.
When I’m looking at a page, I’m now constantly thinking of:
- the user’s task
- the business goal that I want to direct the user towards
- why we want them to visit our page
I can already see the improvements.
If you haven’t experienced T4 (the new content management system) before, then my top tip is to have a play in the system as soon as you have access. You’ll quickly see the new flexibility you have, and the opportunity to re-configure your site in a meaningful way, using the resources provided. If you have used T4 before, as I had, it’s all the freedom with none of the frustration!
My next step is to work with the rest of my team in the Institute for Social Renewal to make our website showcase our activities in the best way it can. We’re very excited for our colleagues to see the finished result!