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Questions to ask as you plan a library website project

By: Ian Tang | June 18, 2021 | cms, Web solutions, and development

Prioritizing features for your library’s new website goes well beyond bells and whistles. How will the new site encourage patron engagement, what are the exact hurdles you will need to clear during the project, and how will the site eventually justify your investment?

Here are a few sample questions you should ask yourself as you begin evaluating your plans for a site. Some relate to current user behavior, and some are about your aspirations for the project. But all of them are essential for a successful site launch.

For a complete checklist to support your team’s site project planning, be sure to download our free infographic below.

What percentage of your library patrons visit your site each month? This is a critical data point, but many libraries don’t know it. A little simple math in your site analytics software should give you the answer.

How long do patrons stay on your site during a visit, and what is the last thing they do before they leave? You’ll find that some visitors simply get frustrated; others complete the activity they came for.

Which common features are critical for the goals you’ve set, and which are just nice-to-haves? Be sure to prioritize these typical website features:

  • Events and special programming promotions
  • Reading lists and staff book recommendation
  • News about what’s going on at the library
  • Event registration and an easy-to-use Events Calendar
  • Personalization features based on users’ preferences easy-to-update opening hours, including exceptions.

Who manages the content on your site? Understanding the process for updating your site should guide your selection of a web publishing platform.

What other online systems, such as your ILS or events calendar, are integrated with your core website? Your team needs to know how all the wires connect before you plan a new site that will need to integrate with at least some of these systems.

Is your site accessible for users with disabilities? Tagging for voice navigation, visual enhancement, and cross-device optimization should come standard with the website solution you choose.

With a complete planning audit in hand, you’ll have a clear picture of how your patrons actually use your current site, and which features and functionality will improve your online services.

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We’d love to learn more about how we can help you build a better library website.