The Top Five Website-Related Skills Your Team Needs to Know

Today, we’ll cover the top five web-related skills your team members need to know for your station website to be successful. Our radio station websites are far from populating themselves with artificial intelligence (AI).  So, people must populate news and blog posts, events, contests, and other content items.  As such, they will need to have a working knowledge of some relevant skills.  If you have someone on your team who will be accessing the website, they should have a basic understanding of each of these.

1. Basic Image Editing

Images on websites produce more clicks than simple text headlines.  It’s why an image accompanies nearly every Facebook post.  If your website doesn’t have images for posts, events, contests, etc., then it’s likely that those areas are not receiving as much traffic as those with images.

Your news person may only be interested in posting the news article rather than finding the right image.  That’s where a local image database comes in handy, where you compile images of local landmarks, first-responder vehicles, etc.

If you don’t have a database of images, finding the right image that will not cause copyright issues can take some time.  Once you find the right image, it’s likely too large for web use and not cropped to fit the area you need it to.  So, editing and optimizing are required.  Yes, images can be a time-consuming extra step, but, as I said, they are a valuable tool to get more engagement with your website.

Everyone on your team that engages with the website admin will need to know where to get legal images and how to edit them so they are sized correctly and in small files to load quickly on mobile devices.

This doesn’t mean everyone should learn powerful tools like Photoshop or Illustrator.  Those are overkill if you need to crop and downsize an image.  There are more simple tools – even online image editors like https://pixlr.com/editor that can be used.  Editors like this can be helpful without being overwhelming.

2. Basic Graphic Design

Have everyone on your team look at major market radio station websites.  Then, have them look at other major websites like ESPN.com, CMT.com, RollingStone.com, and USAToday.com.  Pick any major syndication site you wish.  Point out how all the images, logos, graphics, etc., look clean and professionally made, not something from a third-grader’s art project that was quickly made.

Basic graphic design doesn’t just cover images and graphics.  Notice how the content on pages flows and is easily read.  The content doesn’t look like a break room flyer with everything in a centered, bold font.

The key here is to have everything on your station website look professional because your website’s first impression could be your radio station’s first impression.

Do not expect that everyone coming to your website has heard your radio station.  They may never listen if they get a sour taste from your website.  Conversely, good impressions from your website can equate to more on-air listening.

3. Editing and Proofreading

Incredibly, we continue to see spelling and grammar errors on station websites.  Editing and proofreading can minimize typing errors, overused words, and grammatical errors, improving the overall quality of your content.

Good content ensures maximum impact, while poor content with errors can give a wrong impression of your radio station.  Consider investing in the Grammarly service.  It’s a plugin that reads your copy as you write and makes suggestions in spelling and grammar.

4. SEO and Accessibility Best Practices

You might think these are two separate subjects, but the working functionality behind both is the same.  Being good in one of these areas helps the other.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for your radio station website, but I bet you rarely think about it.  Proper SEO techniques can be a deep-dive subject, but you can do some small things to ensure everything you post can be found easily in search engines.  For example…

  1. Using heading tags correctly. Know the hierarchy of heading tags, and don’t use them simply because you need the text to be bigger.
  2. Using images and links within the content copy. These can dramatically increase your scoring.
  3. Using proper image tags. Every image on your website should include “title” and descriptive “alt” tags so that search engines and accessibility software can read the information about the image.

This brings us to accessibility.  Accessibility means ensuring everyone can effectively access your content.  Remember that people with disabilities need to access the website through special software.  When image tags are missing or if they contain cryptic filenames, these visitors will not know what images contain.  This can result in getting fewer clicks than you would like.

There are also other accessibility issues to be aware of, like color contrast.  People with limited vision or color blindness cannot read the text if there is not enough contrast between the text and background (for example, light gray text on a light-colored background).

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website has some excellent guidance to review at https://www.ada.gov/resources/web-guidance.

5. Simple Security Measures

We can’t expect our team to be security experts, but some basic skills can go a long way.  For example, using strong passwords that are not used anywhere else.  We find that too many people are still password recycling, which means they use the same password for their Facebook, website, Netflix, bank account, etc.  This is dangerous because a hacker can only access one of those to access all of them.

Everyone with access to your station website should only use a strong password dedicated to that website.  I just started using a password manager, and I highly recommend them.  There are several options, but we recommend 1Password or NordPass.  You can set complicated and different passwords for every account with a password manager and not have to remember them all.  The password manager securely houses them, so you only need to remember a single master password.

Also, ensure that each of your website admins has only the proper amount of access they need to perform their tasks.  If someone only writes the occasional blog post, they do not need access to edit banner ads, view contest submissions, or add new users.  Limiting their access will limit the effects of an intrusion if their account is ever compromised.

Wrapping Up

Having your team know these fundamental skills starts with management.  Look at your station website often and call out images that do not make sense or do not stand up as looking professional.  Call out spelling and grammar mistakes – before your listeners do.  Over time, your team will learn the required skill to “please the boss.”

Not only will these skills make them a more valuable part of your radio station, but it also makes them more valuable to any future work they might do.  Learning these are very simple.  There are many free resources in blog posts and online training videos across Youtube to increase one’s skillset.

Need help with your radio station website? Please reach out to us at https://skyrocketradio.com/contact.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.