Web Publishing Guidelines for Administrative Web Content Providers
Administrative Web content providers at TMCC are responsible for all content contained within the pages they oversee. They are expected to follow the highest standards of quality and comply with the college's general policies, World Wide Web policies, appropriate Web publishing procedures and established print publication policies.
The following, non-definitive, Web publishing guidelines are provided to Web content providers in order to assist with the development and maintenance of their academic or departmental website.
Define Scope and Purpose of Website
- Decide on the purpose and goals of your site.
In most cases, the goal (or one of a few) may be universal amongst the academic faculty (i.e. to make available course content to students); nevertheless, careful consideration and time must be given to identify all of the (main) goals of your site. If your site's purpose is not lucid, it can be a very problematic situation for both you, the author, to maintain the website and with your intended targeted-audience (students) to access the information.
- Identify the needs of your site's visitors.
The content you provide and the way you present this content should be in line with the needs of your site's visitors. This will determine the effectiveness of the site.
- Keep it simple.
The more complex the page and content therein, the harder it is to make it work reasonably well for the most popular browsers and be effective in communicating your message. Complexity can be distracting to the visitor. For starter-sites, consider providing contact information for your department's Web presence, services your area provides, faculty and staff photos, and documents and forms. All of these, though not a definitive list of what one can publish on the Web, have been received well and helpful to the college community or intended targeted-audiences with currently existing websites. For example sites, see: Instructional/Academic and Administrative websites.
Develop the Information Architecture
- Make a site map before you begin.
Make a list of all the pages that you think you'll have on your site. Work out a hierarchy of pages and folders (folders are also know as sub-directories). Organize files into folders. Create a root folder for your department or organization, containing sub-directories and files.
- Think of your audience.
Content that is clear and well organized, as in printed publications, will make it easier for your audience to find and retrieve the information they want.
- Relate your pages.
In conjunction with the prior guideline, if you plan for more than one Web page, consider grouping your multiple pages within umbrella categories. The Web services office recommends using the public information office's marketing and internal communications services to assist in assembling your Web content.
Once Launched, Promote and Maintain Website
- Announce/market your site.
Send out an email notice to those who may have an interest in your site; you should place the URI (Web address) on all of your business cards, hard copy publications, catalogs, flyers, posters, etc., and submit the news to "TMCC This Week" and "TMCC This Month."
- Monitor your site's traffic.
TMCC's Web services studies the traffic across the college website, as one of a few indicators, to continue to refine the site, expand content and making revisions and enhancements. As a Web content provider, encouragement is given to do the same. If interested in doing this—measuring and testing all aspects of the online experience from marketing to site content and usability—with your administrative/academic website, please contact Web services to provide you with the necessary training and access to the college's Web analytics and reporting solution.
- Keep pages up-to-date.
Web authoring is a job that has no end — publishing is just the beginning. Most of the work is in the maintenance; pages must be updated, removed or added. Links must be periodically checked. URIs are constantly changing, especially outside links. Work with Web services to remove all unnecessary files! If files are no longer an active part of the site, request they be deleted and archive them to a CD or USB memory stick for off-site storage. Search engines have access to all files on the server even if all links to them have been removed.