Web Watch: Relaunching a Grand Old Web Site
Site administrators moved quickly to put some content on the page, but the short-term solution — "Who are the future leaders of the Republican Party? You are …" — wasn't as robust as it could have been had the site content been in place before launch.
The Web design clearly was ready to go at the site's launch, but the rest of the site wasn't yet up to speed. When you're developing a Web site, be sure that the process of writing copy for the site is on pace with the Web development. Otherwise, your audience could eagerly flock to your beautiful new site, only to find that all of the pages are still "Under Construction."
Talk to your audience
Once the new GOP.com went public, it quickly became clear that some aspects of the site were missing the mark on a critical component of any good Web site: a focus on the audience.
For example, at launch, the site featured a blog written by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, titled What Up? To their credit, site administrators quickly realized that the attempt to appeal to young people colloquially was falling flat, and they changed the title to Change the Game (and, subsequently, Steele's Blog). But for some, the chance to make a good first impression and pique visitors' interest already had passed, and despite the quick change, technical issues meant that the original title still was visible in many areas of the site.
That said, some aspects of the site do a good job of speaking to the audience, like the primary navigation, which features clear, simple calls to action: "Act!" "Discuss." "Learn." The key point to remember when developing your site's content or site map is to put yourself in your audience members' shoes: What will be most intuitive and appealing to them? Are you using the right words? Will your titles and content inspire them to learn more and visit again?