At the beginning of 2015 the Co-op had over 250 websites. Every department, campaign and anything with a budget wanted their own domain. As our online presence expanded, our resources stayed the same. Trying to maintain content quality and accuracy was futile.
We failed to ask ourselves one simple question… do we really need them all?
When is it time to delete a website?
For the last five months we’ve been busy removing websites. Deciding which ones stay or go is an emotive process. To keep emotion out of it we asked ourselves the following:
Are people still using the site?
Some decisions were easy to make. After looking at our site analytics, 12 websites had less than 100 visits in the last year so they were removed.
Is the content still relevant and up to date?
I’m sure the Co-op isn’t alone in creating websites for marketing campaigns. Part of any campaign should also include how effectively you close it – unfortunately for some this was never done. They’re done now. We also created one page summaries for three sites which were still receiving over 500 unique views a month such as the 2014 campaign “Have Your Say”. In a few more months we’ll review the content again and press delete if we think it’s right.
Is it best for our members maintaining XYZ site?
It takes time and money to run a website and ensure they meet user needs. We therefore need to decide if this time and money is better employed elsewhere to benefit our members.
Are we duplicating content?
The problem we have at the moment is trying to manage very similar content across multiple sites. We’re now looking at ways to combine sites with similar content/themes and you will see the results of this soon.
Does the website fit with our digital strategy?
With Mike Bracken joining the Co-op to lead Digital we now have a clearer vision of what our Digital estate should be.
As a result we’re now starting to see tighter controls put in place to decide when a website should be created.
In a big business like the Co-op there are a lot of great ideas all vying for attention. But how do you decide what’s important?
Unfortunately we’ve been too keen to say yes to everyone instead of spending the time to decide what is best for our members and users.
If you look at our main site, co-operative.coop, we have 114 links on the homepage. 101 of those links go to another website or micro-site. It’s very easy to get lost in a maze of websites.
What are we doing now?
It takes time to review and potentially delete or migrate a site. So far, we’ve removed 20 sites and work is underway to delete/migrate another 12. For each we have to look at the user impact and how it affects the Co-op. I’m sure there’ll be more changes to come as we continue to evolve with our member needs.
The better we make our digital estate the easier it will be for our users to understand what we do and for our members to experience digital co-operation in action.
@peterbrumby, Digital Communications Manager for the Co-op