University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Maintaining your site: marketing and communications folks?

Hi,

I’m the Web editor at a private, liberal arts college of approximately 4,000 students. I work in College Relations and have been managing the Web site for over 6 years. Until now, we did not have an IT person dedicated to helping me maintain our external site, but the College just hired for this newly-created position.

As we are in the midst of a total redesign/refresh, I’m trying to make a case for another Web staff member in College Relations. I’m doing almost all of the content management by myself and would welcome the opportunity to move toward a more global, strategic perspective in managing the site and have someone else be able to assist with the day-to-day updating. This is especially important since we are considering centralizing our content management.

I'd like to get a sense from folks in the marketing/communications areas who maintain your schools' Web sites what your roles and titles are, and approximately how many staff members manage your Web site.

Just looking for a little ammo to plead my case. :) Thanks so much!

Trish

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In our situation, we have the following positions that "touch" the Web site:
1) Webmaster - oversees all development and content updates to the Web site
2) Print and Web Communication Manager - handles all design work for the College, including Web design. Is also the supervisor of the Webmaster
3) Part-time Web assistant - Handles the majority of the content updates to the Web site and minor development tasks
4) College Editor - We previously had a College editor that reviewed all text for the Web and printed publications prior to the content being published. That position has since been eliminated, but I think we may be recreating it in the near future to handle just Web text.
5) Content editors - Each unit at our College has a designated content editor. This person performs the editing duties in addition to their standard work responsibilities. They are not strictly editors. However, they are required to review and approve all content submitted by their units for inclusion on the Web. The Webmaster and Web assistant will not accept Web update requests from anyone but those content editors.

When we had a College editor, the Webmaster and Web assistant would only accept requests from the College editor, who was instructed to only accept requests from the unit content editors. If we recreate the College editor position, I'm not sure what the process will be, but I would assume it will be similar.

The first three positions listed are within the Office of College Advancement (OCA). The fourth position was part of the Office of the President, mainly because that is the unit under which the rest of her job responsibilities fell. I would imagine if we eventually do create a position strictly devoted to Web editing, that it would fall within the OCA. For the fifth position listed above, each of the content editors works within their own administrative units.

We also have a part-time print and Web design assistant within the OCA that mostly works on designing printed publications, but occasionally designs something for the Web site.

The part-time Web assistant, print and Web communication manager and print and Web design assistant are all trained on the custom CMS developed for the College and are responsible for making minor content updates when the Webmaster is out of the office.
Hi Trish,

Maintaining a Web site can be quite the task. Our department's Web site group consists of:

1. Assistant Director of Communications - supervises the development and update of the Web site and staff

2. Webmaster - maintains all things Web, from the back end to the front

3. Technical Writer - maintains the content for the site, but also creates content such as featured articles, news articles or any other content leaving from the department

4. Graphic Designer (myself) - I create all the Web graphics and do some Web edits and writing here and there.
Thank you so much for this great information!

Trish
Title: Web Site Coordinator
Location: Private liberal arts college, approx. 2,000 students
Dept.: IT until last summer; now part of Marketing and Communications (formerly College Relations)

I've been maintaining the various College web sites for 7+ years. In past years I've had assistance from a supervisor, but that position doesn't currently exist. I lean on the technical support staff in IT for help with the technical side - servers, etc. I have one or two part-time (up to 8 hrs/week) student assistants, who help me post content. I am in the final stages of deploying a new website - we combined our athletics, arts center, and admissions sites into our main web site for the College which will now be our external site; took the old content and moved some of it to our internal website (which I do not maintain); have undergone a website redesign to support our new brand attributes; and I am implementing a content management system and have trained College faculty and staff so they can maintain their areas in the new site going forward. So to answer your question, we've had one FTE for the last two years plus 2 part-time students maintaining the college external website. I am not sure what staffing we will need moving forward with the new content management system in place.
Kathie,

How has this organizational structure been working for you?

Do you feel like something is missing from your group/area or do you ever feel bombarded with too much to maintain?

My university has 28,000+ students, so that may be the difference. Plus, our group only manages one departmental Web site, not campus-wide.

I think having content experts are critical in maintaining a Web site. This may or may not be the technical writer's job. You may have content experts readily available so that you may query them every so often to get the proper information.

Constructing a good navigation system to your Web site is also essential. This skill may be held by the Webmaster or designer.

Our group is diverse in skills, but what it comes down to is the needs of the users. It's all about what we would like to accomplish through our Web site that matters.

Any thoughts?
Hi Trish,

My office (interactive media) creates sites for all the various offices and departments in the university (we're also in the middle of a university wide web redesign). For each department we recommend at least 1 web content manager (a jack [or jill] of all trades, who thinks strategically about that department's site, compiles the content including some writing and light editing including photos and video) and 1 multi-media/ technical specialist. Departments who 'get it' will often get a dedicated writer on top, but that's unfortunately few and far between.

Hope that helps.
Thank you all! This information is very helpful. I greatly appreciate your insight.

Trish
Private liberal arts university, 3500 students. Two employees that maintain the public/marketing side of the website (everything but the internal staff and student portal and associated web services).

Webmaster: oversees all design, development, and content related issues for the public-facing website. Currently handles social media implementation, analytics management, and media creation (videos, podcasts, slideshows, etc)

Web Developer: designs and develops new sites along with Webmaster, handles maintenance and support issues, develops Flash content.

That's about it. Occasionally we have a student worker if we're lucky to do the grunt work. Offices use Contribute to manage simple content changes to their portion of the site. The biggest gap we have is someone to handle Web writing/editing. I could also use a strong programmer, and another person to help with the increasing load of support requests.

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