A website is a big investment, but it’s a necessary piece of any robust marketing-style communications strategy. Providing an accessible, single source of truth for your collection of programs and offerings creates a powerful vehicle for promoting value and driving appreciation, by your population, of your benefits and total rewards.
Being the savvy professional that you are, you have invested in a comprehensive website and established a regular cadence of touchpoint campaigns that drive people to use (and love!) the site, so your work here is done, right? Actually, it isn’t. Many employers and plan sponsors think of their websites as one-time, big-ticket investments that take care of themselves, but, like all technology, there comes a point where a site must evolve to stay relevant.
Many employers and plan sponsors think of their websites as one-time, big-ticket investments that take care of themselves, but, like all technology, there comes a point where a site must evolve to stay relevant.
Think of your organization as a person and your website as a living, breathing expression of your organization. You’re probably not the same person you were five years ago, or even two years ago. The current you has more experience, different priorities, and maybe that long haircut just isn’t an accurate expression of you anymore. And the same is true for your organization. It’s changed over the years, and your website should reflect and build on the knowledge, priorities, and personality that develop with age and experience.
Here are a few signs that it’s time to refresh your site (and finally get that sassy short haircut?).
Has your company gone through a brand update or redesign? What’s so important about BRAND anyway?
If your company were a person, their brand would be the way they present themselves to the world: their clothing style, their haircut, and even their tone of voice and what they say. It’s the first impression that they give to the world. It’s how their friends and family recognize them and know that it’s not an impostor. So, it’s important to create a consistent brand expression throughout your communications, including your website. Branding establishes trust and provides recognition, which is an important component in supporting your people as they make highly personal decisions about their health and wealth.
Every website is built with a hierarchy in mind, shining a spotlight on what is most timely and important. Maybe when you originally built the website your company was hiring like crazy, so the number one priority on the home page was the new-hire experience. But after a couple of years, things have cooled down, and now you really want to focus more on retention and promoting your wellness programs. A link to new-hire information is still relevant but not as important as it used to be. Restructuring the hierarchy of information would make sense. As you map your strategic priorities for the year, it’s good to keep in mind how they are being reflected on your website and whether the site is still organized in the best way for your changing landscape. Furthermore, as the programs and offerings represented on your site change, keeping your content accurate and up to date is imperative in maintaining the trust of your people.
A mature website will accumulate user analytics over time, to show trending pages, hot topics, and frequent search terms that can give you a window into how the site is working for your population. When we build a new website, we make necessary assumptions about the target audience’s needs and wants, based on research, best practices, and our experience with a diverse group of employers and plan sponsors. But after a couple of years, we will have actual data on your unique population: how they have used the site, their traffic patterns, and what they might be searching for, giving us an idea of how to better organize things so that users can navigate more efficiently. Restructuring information based on the needs of your users is just as important as reflecting the new look and new priorities of your organization.
Even in the unlikely event that nothing has changed in your organization in the last few years and that your data doesn’t tell you anything meaningful about how your people are using your site, technology evolves rapidly. It’s important that your website stays current and relevant. Consumers’ expectations are constantly increasing, based on all the technology we experience daily. Think of how often you update your smartphone, for instance. Technically, you may be able to go two to five years on the same model, but performance degrades, the technology begins to fail, and eventually the operating system may not be supported, and you’ll be forced to upgrade.
Advancement in website best practices and global user trends will render a once cutting-edge site increasingly old and dated after a couple of years. If you have a site that isn’t responsive or doesn’t work well on a smartphone, you’re not engaging a large percentage of your audience. Sometimes, software or hardware is no longer supported, and things need to be rebuilt as technology progresses. The platform your site was built on also needs to remain up to date for security reasons, not to mention new and improved features you might be missing out on. Bells and whistles aside, there’s just something that makes you think that the content must be out of date if the site looks like it was created years ago. In an age where your communications compete with a barrage of flashy consumer content, it’s critical to keep things fresh for your users in order to maintain trust and keep them interested and engaged.
Do any or all of these signs strike a chord? Is it time for you to revisit the design of your benefits website? There are many ways to tackle this project. How much time, money, and effort you invest depends on your needs and budget. The options can range from simply reorganizing the content on an existing home page to rethinking the categories in the sitemap and updating the visual design, including refreshing the look of the home page for a quick facelift, updating the styles and colors throughout the site, or fully redesigning the website for a completely fresh start. There are lots of possibilities. What works best for your organization will depend on your goals and priorities in the years ahead. Above all, allow your website to continue to represent your organization in the best possible light, as it supports your people along their journey.
We’re proud to work with organizations that value their people. If you want to learn more, we’d love to talk.
Cat Brewer, Art Director, is an integral part of our design arsenal, infusing life into many of our client campaigns.