Keeping it Clean and Lean

We work with many of our clients on a long-term basis – and something that comes up often is the request to add new pages to a site. This isn’t inherently bad – there are a lot of solid reasons for creating new pages.

However, far too often a request for a new page could easily be handled with a few sentences carefully integrated into an existing page instead.

  • This is good for SEO: A page that’s been live longer will rank higher than a page that’s just been launched. The page also gets bonus SEO points for having content that’s had a recent update.
  • This is good for your audience: Instead of having to look in two different places for your content, your audience can get it in one spot. That’s a big win: A happy audience is one that’s more likely to take action with your content.
  • This is good for your sanity: Keeping your content ecosystem as clean and lean as possible saves you upkeep down the line.

No matter how good it might be to take the integration and adaption approach though, sometimes pushing back on a new content request is a challenge. Here’s how to just say no.

  • Ask the requestor to clearly define the unique elements of the content. If they can’t define what makes it unique, it shouldn’t get a new page. End of story. Too often we field requests that are just duplicates of what’s already out there.
  • Do a careful audit of your site, and figure out what you already have to work with. Find all the existing content that could be adapted to fit the needs instead.
  • Use analytics as a weapon. How are your existing page analytics? If they’re already pretty good, it’s a solid argument for integrating new content into the existing page. You have an established audience, and what’s better than that? On the flip side, if your page metrics could be better, see if you can use the new information to increase page views, using keywords, formatting and even updated page titles.
  • Think like a marketer. If it’s added “sparkle” the requestor is looking for, think of other options. In addition to integrating the new content to the site itself, consider social media marketing – include a timely Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn post. Not everything new needs a new page – sometimes it just needs a fresh callout.
  • Look at the content management system you’re using. In day-to-day content creation, we’re all guilty of ignoring the capabilities of even the most basic content templates. But one of the key benefits of a CMS is to be able to highlight new and targeted content in a flexible way. Consider the content elements you have to work with in your CMS, and figure out how to tailor them to your needs.

A final takeaway: One of the biggest requests we get when tackling site redesigns, is to figure out ways to consolidate content. If you can figure out how to keep the garden tended along the way, you’ll avoid the overhead of a site consolidation later.