You want links. Badly.
Promoting your library website and making it easier for people to find depends on how many other sites link to you. Incoming links that you get from reputable sites lead to better search engine rankings and better chances of people finding your website.
But how do you get other sites to link to you?
Well, there are actually a lot of things you can do to increase traffic to your site and get people to link to you, but the number one thing is good content. Interesting, useful content is what will draw people to your site, make people talk about it and link to it.
Here’s an easy way to sum it up:
Pretty simple, right? Well, there’s actually a lot more to this.
Participating in online discussions with your patrons is also important, as is listing your site in places where people might find it useful or interesting. Promoting your library’s services and allowing patrons to participate through interactive features of your site also can’t be missed.
And let’s not forget about search engine optimization and usability — these play important roles in creating a successful library website
The 10 Essentials for Any Library Site
“The website is your library’s most important feature” is what starts off the discussion of the 10 essentials for library sites. The author argues that your library’s site tells a lot about your organization and can have an impact on your patrons’ perceptions of the library. Your website is much more than a URL, it is an experience for your patrons and a valuable means of communication.
I summed up the 10 essentials into 10 tips:
- Promotion Tip: keep content fresh, update regularly and pay attention to placement of banners, photos, videos, blog posts, etc.
- Segmentation Tip: develop separate pages for different patron groups.
- Visual Tip: grab your user’s attention and help them find what they’re looking for with icons, symbols and ohter visual cues.
- Photo Tip: photos can help you make a good impression, as well as showcase and promote your library’s features.
- Search Tip: every page should have a search box and a federated search box will help patrons start using your resources.
- Mobile-Friendly Tip: offer a few different ways for patrons to utilize your site on their mobile device.
- Feedback Tip: use this as a way to show patrons that their opinions matter.
- Redundancy Tip: assume people are going to make mistakes and offer multiple ways to find things.
- Analytics Tip: Google Analytics is free and can help you identify problems and areas that need improvement.
- Help Tip: utilize free tools (like Meebo) and place your Ask a librarian link prominently.
The above list includes some important features that can’t be overlooked when building the library website.
I would add that making sure your site is compatible with all the different types of browsers and that your text and colors are being displayed properly on older monitors are also essentials. Don’t assume that all of your patrons have the latest monitor and all use Firefox. Your site might look completely different through Internet Explorer or on an older monitor.
Should a library that does not have the resources to create an effective website settle for a site with limited features, poor content, ineffective design, etc
— or not bother with
a website at all?
In other words, is it better for a library to have a bad website or no website?