Manage Your Web Presence
Maintaining a website is a daily responsibility—and one that usually comes with many other job duties at the University of Minnesota. To be successful, you must be able to ask questions, work with colleagues to get the information you need... and even say “no” sometimes. Good web managers wear a lot of hats: They’re writers, editors, content strategists, cat herders… but most importantly, they are champions for a high-quality web presence.
An essential part of having a web presence is maintaining it.
At the very least, you’ll need an ongoing to-do list that outlines roles and responsibilities for your site.
Tasks to be performed may include:
- Once weekly: Update the homepage with new stories; add new items to the blog or events calendar; make edits to page content.
- Once monthly: Update publications; check staff, faculty, and event listings to ensure they are current.
- Once quarterly: Review feedback from users, as well as Google Analytics, and adjust your content and task-based links on footer and homepage in response to traffic trends.
- Once annually: Evaluate your site based on user feedback and analytics, and remove/add content as needed. Review content for accuracy.
Make connections across content through linking
People use navigation to understand what's on a website and find their way around. Too many choices and it's overwhelming. Too little information (e.g., labels without meaningful language), and it's hard to know if you're in the right place.
People follow links to find what they seek on the web. Look for opportunities to add links to relevant content throughout your site—the harder you make people work to find things, the more frustrated they'll get, affecting their perception of your organization. Likely they have found the page through search and don't know have the context of knowing what else is on your home page or other parts of your site.
Help protect your navigation from being overrun, and help people make connections across content by asking yourself:
- Where can this content fit in the existing structure?
- What can this content link to?
- Where should I add links to this content?
From "Moving from a world of producing to a world of connecting" by Gerry McGovern:
Most websites, if left without management, will grow—not in links—but rather in pages, in content, in apps... Navigation links are rarely designed seriously and rigorously. They are essentially thrown up there after a bit of discussion. And if they don’t work well, then more navigation is added on top without any real thinking about how this navigation interacts with what is already there. Consequently, poor quality links are the number one reason people fail to complete their tasks online.