Michael Davis

Improving One's Web Presence

Blog Post created by Michael Davis on Mar 25, 2020

With the termination of the Webs.com web-hosting service, we have seen a large migration of Local Section Websites to the ACS Network. The majority of these transitions took place rather smoothly last summer, and since then, a few local sections have done an exceptional job utilizing the network space to improve their web presence. One section in particular is the Puget Sound Local Section, which has not only created an aesthetically pleasing website layout, but also maintains an updated forum space and posts regularly about upcoming events.

 

In an effort to learn more about the Puget Sound Network space, I talked with the webmaster of the site, Jonathan Clark, and asked him about the steps he took to improving his website. According to Jonathan, once the transition to the Network was complete and he became familiar with the Network interface, he admitted that maintaining the site did not take up too much time, estimating that he spends only about 10 to 15 hours a month on the site, most of which comes toward the end of the month. The key to a strong web presence, in his eyes, is having a clear definition for what your website is and what it should be able to do. For example, the main concern for the Puget Sound Local Section is disseminating information to section members and any other site users; thus, Jonathon has populated his space with various icons, documents, and links that do just that. Additionally, he uses the Section's monthly newsletter, as well as their social media accounts (facebook), to advertise the Network space and attract as much traffic as possible. By keeping his space up-to-date, and by informing others of its existence and utility, Jonathan has been able to grow his web presence since the transition from webs.com

 

Maintaining an up-to-date website is an extremely important aspect of one's Web presence, and it often requires one to create some sort of archive. Archiving old content can often be very helpful because it will provide you a record of all the things you have ever posted on your space, and give you an idea of which content was most popular. Jonathan Clark, uses Microsoft Excel and google Drive to organize and store his archived content, but you can do so directly in the ACS Network by creating a "sub-forum" within your local section space that can only be accessed by the section officers. However, one organizes their content, it is important that it is updated on the website and saved after it has been removed. 

 

I went on to ask Jonathan if he had any more advice for other webmasters using the ACS Network. He responded with the following five pieces of advice:

 

  1. Find the right person to manage your web content.
    • Someone who has the technical skills
    • Someone who is willing to learn
    • Someone who is committed to developing the web presence over the long term (it is an iterative process of many small improvements punctuated with periods of intense development when adding a massive new feature or switching to a new platform, etc.)
    • Someone who is committed to keeping the content updated.  Out of date websites are a blemish on the ACS image and is something that we want to keep to a minimum.
    • Consider how you want to transition between webmasters down the road
  2. Define what your website/web presence should be and do
    • Give your webmaster a sense of purpose.  They establish, maintain and expand the local section's web presence.  Give them support...they don't have to be the sole content creators. They can function as content publishers with the content sourced from the other members of the local community.
    • Assess your current content, define your audience/website goals and create a plan to get there
  3. Nuts and Bolts: How To for Websites
    • Read the Reference aids (@ Component Websites) for ideas:
          - How to add a new tile, create a new document, add a link, adjust the font size/color, use the events feature and all of the other basic website management functionalities 
          - How to get a shortcut URL created (e.g. acs.org/pugetsound) | Email webhosting@acs.org and someone can get it set up for you.
          - How to design a website on the ACS Network/how to transition to the ACS Network (This Already Exists.)
          - Top Examples of ACS Network websites (Puget Sound, WA-ID Border, Etc.) that highlight best practices
  4. Explore the features and try things out!
  5. Ask questions:
    • Webhosting@acs.org is a great reference
    • Michael Davis [author] (M_Davis2@acs.org) for various items
    • Connect with other webmasters for support (basic and advanced)
    • Use some feature of the ACS Network as a forum for discussing web presence topics...

 

This is great advice for any webmasters looking to update their Network space and improve their web-presence. If you have any questions about hosting component websites on the ACS Network, please feel free to reach out to myself, or Web-hosting. If you would like to talk directly to Jonathan Clark, feel free to visit the Puget Sound local section site and find his contact information.

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