University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I am the lone web developer here overseeing a designated person from each department that updates the content on their department's webpage. 99% of them don't know HTML and use a WYSIWYG editor to do their updates. I find a lot of my time is being a  support center for them and fixing their pages and setting this up for them. As a result I have a hard time developing an overall strategy for the website, and don't have a clear and well defined process for my website.

So my question for all of you is, what strategies do you have for your website? what is your process to accomplish them? and how does that fit in with the day to day troubleshooting and maintenance?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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It may be worth your time on the front end to develop a comprehensive training program for those web editors.In the long run, it could save you that troubleshooting time and let you free up more creative juices for those larger strategic questions.  We've found that a heavy "communication" component (blog, emails, portal posts, brown bag lunches) goes a long way to get people excited and informed at the same time on web best practices and how to best use the WYSIWYG editor.

Happy trails!

I feel your pain, as I share in your situation as a lone web admin/person/department/etc. at a Community College (I wonder how many of us in Community Colleges are 1-person shops?...)


What I have done to free up some time is exactly what Sarah has mentioned, an online, on-demand, video training program.  When users need help, or can't remember 'how to do something', I direct them to the online videos first (of course, with the statement that they can contact me if the videos don't provide the information they were seeking).  I used Camtasia Studio (from TechSmith) to do that (and I'm continuing to improve and add to that as I have time).


As far as a strategy goes, I've been going in the following direction (and I'll be speaking at HighEdWeb 2011 in Austin, TX in October about it):

  • using Google Analytics data to find out what site visitors are DOING ALREADY,
  • using Google Site Search (integrated with analytics) to find out what site visitors are SEARCHING FOR (a bit different from what they're doing - give a bit of insight),
  • using a SaaS online FAQ system to find out what site visitors are ASKING FOR and what answers provide the info. they need (there are some free options as well, such as PHPmyFAQ, for example)
  • and finally, using a 4Q/iPerceptions simple site visitor survey to find out what site visitors thing of the existing site, and additionally, to find out how satisfied users are with accomplishing the PURPOSE OF THEIR VISIT to our site.

With these four pieces of data, I'm trying to put together a data-driven strategy to redesign how our college's information is presented to our primary site visitors, the students (current and prospective).


My hope in doing so is to produce very clear reports (I have some already) that clearly indicate what content is the most popular now, what content is difficult to find, and what I need to do about it to make it better (based on direct site visitor feedback).


Well, now that you've read that, you don't have to fly to Austin, Texas to hear me try to fill 45 minutes with that information...hehe...

Wow, I feel lucky - we have a two person web admin team!


Love the four point strategy, Justin. Thanks for sharing it. I hope I'll be able to go to HighEdWeb to hear you speak on it more, but it looks dim.

That's a great idea as far as the training goes. I have tried to hold "classes" in the past, but it was unsuccessful. people didn't really show up and didn't seem interested. But maybe putting some videos out on the web would work better.

Thanks a lot for your strategies that you implement. I'll have to look into that.

I really hope to be at the Austin conference! Now I just need to convince my boss it's in the budget, so it probably won't happen...

Hey Justin, it looks like I'm going to the conference. I'll have to look you up when I get down there. I look forward to your session!



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