1. Website Content Management and Maintenance
In terms of strategic management for the website content, the university should consider these aspects:
- Value: Education/ Business/ Community value: in order to satisfy the audience, does each piece of content help achieve an educational/ business/ community building goal as the university expected?
- Message: Which key messages does each piece of content communicate with the audience, is it supportive enough?
- Appropriateness: evaluate your content to see whether they truly reflect the university brand promise, guidelines or culture.
This activity of strategic planning should be created before any of the content is uploaded. Moreover, content should be prioritized over media and time.
2.1. Human resources and level of control:
Halvorson & Rach (2014: 130-141) suggested that those who are responsible for the content of the website might not need ‘'job titles'' yet the areas of responsibilities must be defined clearly. Those who take part in the content process must know their roles and how they fit in with the whole process to avoid task-duplication, authority vague and quality control failure. These responsibilities can be categorized as the requesters (who will submit request), providers (who master the subjects and have necessary resources which will then be used by the creators), creators (who will have actual responsibility to develop the content), reviewers/ approvers (these can be the content strategist or those who have prior understanding of the content), publishers (who will make the content go online). Moreover, a potential audience advisory committee could be formed with volunteers representing key stakeholders and audience groups in order to add more effective reviews in the content.
Figure 6: An example of content workflow from AwesomeCo (Adopted from Halvorson & Rach & Rach, 2014: 81)
Marketing Department should have a core team who is responsible for updating and controlling the website content not just a person. A more decentralized structure is proposed as in Figure 6. The university can promote more internship schemes throughout the year for third or final year undergraduate students specialize in Creative Writing/ Writing/ News & journals and Multimedia courses. They can become a great contribution of resources and ideas for at least 3-6 months. Moreover, through this schemes university can take control of the budget spending on marketing.
For the cohesion of the content, strategic content planning must be employed in the first place. Step-by-step procedure then follows by creating, editing, reviewing. An Advisory team could be based on volunteer viewers, represent each of the website users/ stakeholders categories including students, staff, business partners, etc. to provide a more objective viewpoint and suggestion for better improvement. In that way, stakeholders' engagement in this context can create a positive outcome for the website content.
Figure 7: Proposed level of control for the university' website
2.2. Procedure for content creation
One of the main key areas that the website project or Content Developers need to take into account is the quality consistency throughout the whole website. The proposed workflow at the current state is still considered appropriate, however, in order to lessen the time await for approval, each departments should take the control of the coherency in their related contents before sending the content to the Marketing Department for editing.
Each department/ faculty will need to at least one person who has access and be responsible for the. All content developer of each department will be given a general content form but can be specialized for each category (for example, post from art division can have different format and content style than business or education).
Figure 8: Content creation procedure
This procedure needs to be implemented on a weekly basis/ monthly basis. In order to ensure that there is no repetition in information and that all the contents are cohesive:
Figure 9: Maintenance procedure
2.4. Staff training:
Previous procedure has shown that lack of time in training staff and ineffective communication within departments creates the great confusion in uploading the content as well as the repetition in content. All staff who involve in the website have to take serious training to clearly understand the procedure and how to upload content in a more effective way. Training and review should be taken at least twice a month to reassure that everyone is updated with the new system and is clear on what their roles and expectation regardless the content creation aspect.
3. Decision on outsourcing or hiring
As part the structure of Marketing Department team has already include part-time workers, decisions whether to pay for someone else from outside to help build the website or expand the in-house infrastructure to do it yourself is a big decision. Outsourcing is considered the best solution if the organization wants to have more time to focus on core competencies or have short-term needs to focus on content (Julie Vollenweider guidelines on hire or outsource, cited in Halvorson & Rach, 2014: 138; Wilson, 2011 [online]). Since the current website provider is considered not as effective, interactive and creative as it should be, the university should use other professional experts in website design such as the Close to Water company (figure 11) which offer professional and strategic branding solution for the website design (http://www.ctow.co.uk/services/). One example of their products is the impressive website for Kudos Catering Company (figure 10).
Figure 10: Kudos Catering company website (http://www.kudosknowhow.co.uk/)
Figure 11: Creator of Kudos Catering website (http://www.ctow.co.uk/services/)
Besides, the university should consider the idea of having a content strategist who is ‘'responsible for overseeing the success of content initiatives'' (Halvorson & Rach, 2014: 31). It could be either someone from within the organization who can oversee and have the vision to implement the changes needed for the website. Nevertheless, it could be a restructure idea to bring fresh thinking into to the organization by using professional service from content strategies provider (for example the Contently.com https://contently.com/contact-us/)
With the above suggested solutions, the university can improve their website as an effective channel of marketing. Professional graphic experts are advised to cooperate with the university in this project for the best result. Regarding the sitemap and management procedure, the method of using clearer designated roles will alleviate stress at work and boost effectiveness. Further survey conducted and analysis of the new website structure will be taken once the new website goes on live which can show through a predictable increase in number of viewers' access the new website every day.
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