In December 2018, my team at the American Society for Microbiology launched a website redesign and CMS implementation. To help our members (microbiologists) acclimate to the new change, I posted the below on our website in January 2019.
Have you noticed our website’s new look and feel? What you see is the culmination of a 3-year-long web redesign process that embraces 3 pillars: content, usability and design.
Content strategy—the creation, planning and dissemination of content—is at the heart of ASM’s digital approach. To execute a content strategy for an association with so many established content streams (journals, existing blogs) takes thoughtful planning, extensive research and collaboration.
For the last 3 years, ASM’s digital team, staff, members and leadership worked together to shift the website to a user-friendly experience. We released yearly surveys, asking our members what they’d like to see. We conducted user testing at ASM meetings. Nearly a dozen workshops took place where we established our web taxonomy, keywords and tags with experts.
We held trainings on writing for the web, search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Analytics to help ASM staffers gear up for this new digital approach. Articles that focus on clinical microbiology, education, careers and global health—all topics our members tell us they’re interested in—are written by staff and volunteers on our blog network. We held 2 content audits to reorganize a site of 20,000 pages and streamlined to a more manageable 3,000 pages. Pages that were incorrect, outdated or had low visitor numbers were repurposed or deleted. This prepared us to build the foundation of ASM’s new content-rich and user-focused website.
These changes weave together to form ASM’s digital strategy, and we’re starting to see the payoff. Since 2015, ASM’s web traffic increased by more than 300%—skyrocketing from 1 million page views per year to over 4 million in 2018.
ASM’s new website features SEO-friendly tags, organized content, smart search and commissioned, original artwork. The new design executes ASM’s vision for a fresh, clean look that celebrates microbiology and stays true to the ASM brand.
December’s launch is the first wave in our 3-phase website design approach. The next phases promise more features and content, including systems integrations with ASM’s new customer management database. Eventually, users will be able to subscribe to topics that interest them, build customized newsletters, connect with each other and upload their own content. All the while, ASM’s staff will be tweaking, testing and refining the site to ensure that users get the best experience when they visit the new and improved asm.org.