Skip navigation

Now that you have an idea of how your website has been structured in the past and what you would like to accomplish, we would like to help you think about resources.

 

Resources are key to maintaining an effective website. You may want to consider creating a website budget, identifying people who will author content, the frequency of your content, and those who will post material on your site. You goal should be to have a website process that your group can maintain over time.

 

Frequency: If you have already thought about what your website is going to do and the target audience, you might want to look at what you think you will be able to post and what sort of schedule to you expect to run. For example, if you are running regular meetings and outreach events, you can develop a calendar which can help determine the frequency you will post new content.

 

Source of Content:  In addition, you might start thinking about where the content will come from. For example, will a single person be writing up all information or are write-ups submitted by various people who have in depth knowledge of an event? Where will images and graphics come from?

 

People: Once you understand the frequency and source of content, you can start thinking about people resources.

  • How big a team do you need? Perhaps a single webmaster will work. Or you may want to engage a group of people who will be able to help manage your digital communications. The frequency and source of content may help you determine this.
  • How will you ensure continuity in managing the site?  If you have a web team of one, how do you maintain continuity if for some reason they 'disappear' or are unable to serve for an extended period of time?  How will you get access to your site? Will you have a back up who's been trained? Is up-to-date documentation available?
  • What about accountability? How do you ensure items get posted? Will there be a review process?

 

Budget: As you think about your web budget, remember that a large number of website hosting services are available in the marketplace. Costs start around $10/month and go up from there. These services usually include basic hosting and functionality that enable you to create and edit content. Prices go up as you begin to add other special services like forms and e-commerce. You may also want to consider if you will need custom graphics and photography. You can engage individuals, companies, or agencies to provide these materials, And there are some high-end services which provide web hosting and include people to help you design and manage your digital communications. For very small/simple sites, you may want to consider platforms such as the ACS Network .

Last week, we suggested you create a content inventory of your current website. This week, we will think more about the future state of your website. You may want to discuss these questions with your executive team or other engaged members of your local section, technical division, etc.

 

A website can be a way to announce happening or it can be a provide resources that are useful to your members. It is key for you to prioritize what you want your website to do.

 

Who is your primary audience?

  • Is your website primarily for members?
  • Do reach a significant number of  non-member, students, teachers?
  • Or is your website a place to let visitors know that you exist and how to get involved?

 

What information do you want to communicate with the audiences? It helps to know if you can rate what are the most important things you want the site to communicate

 

  • What about your group do you need to communicate (e.g., Executive team, goals, etc.)?
  • Is this a way to let groups know about in-person events (e.g., meetings, outreach, etc)?
    • How often do you have these?
    • Is there any input (e.g., RSVP, registration, or payment) required?

 

  •   Does your website provide other information?
    • Does it promote other activities -- things like
      • grant and award opportunities
      • activities, events, and other opportunities provided by other organizations that might be of interest to your members
    • Does it provide curated content of interest to your members?
      • Should this content be available only to Members?
      • What format is this information
        • Links? videos? webinars? Papers or documents?
  • Will your website work in conjunction with other digital media (social media and/or email)
    • Will content be coordinated with or leverage social media?
    • Will content be coordinated with or leverage email and/or newsletters?

 

Effective websites contain current content and materials that are of interest to their audiences. A site full of old content may negatively impact how search engines like Google and Bing find and display your site on search results pages. We will be talking more about archiving (effectively managing old content you need for historic and organizational purposes) and search engine optimization (SEO, which means getting traffic from the free, natural search results on search engines) in a later post.

 

We realize that each of you represent a unique group and likely have different needs and audiences. Hopefully, these questions can help you start the process to define the types of information that you want to provide on your website.

(Updated 2/19/19)

Now that you know you must move or redo your website, where do you begin?

 

We recommend first doing an assessment of your current website.

 

  • What information do you have on it?
  • What types of files are there?
  • How current is the material?
  • Are all of the files visible? Or do you have hidden files?
  • Do you have any data which indicates how frequently the content is being accessed?
  • Should any content be retired and archived?

 

For many sites, it would helpful to actually inventory the files with a spreadsheet which includes the filenames, the type of file (PDF, jpg, html, etc.), some annotation about the information the file includes, and a rating of both currency and importance. If your site has hidden files, you might want to indicate visibility. Finally, you might want to indicate who is the primary audience of this content.

 

Understanding what files you have and how many will be key in moving your website.

 

To help you take an inventory, we have attached a blank and a sample spreadsheet with which to do an audit.

Filter Blog

By date: