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Regular Checks

Keep your site working for your audiences

Regular maintenance and updates are key to managing a credible website. If your content is out of date or inaccurate, if you have broken links – your whole site will feel kind of like an "abandoned house" and won't inspire confidence.

Here are some things you can do to keep your site credible and effective.

Quick Checks

Some quick spot checks can you give you a sense of how well your pages are holding up. If you find problems in these areas, you should dig deeper. Things might be worse than you thought, and it could be time to revamp your whole website.

  • Broken Links - Broken links are a good indicator that the page hasn't been updated recently. Fix them! You need to check the links on your pages manually. Cascade's broken link report is unreliable. 
  • Deadlines/ published dates - If a content page gives deadlines or other dates, make sure you update those as needed. Maybe make a note in your calendar for timely updates? There's nothing more frustrating than wanting to submit an application for something, only to see that the deadline for submission was two years ago. 
  • Stale content - If your research page gives an example of a project that happened in 2010, people will wonder if you've done anything since then. If your website has a news listing, there should be at least one or two new news stories every year. This is a very low bar. You can borrow in a news story from University Communications. Or if they haven't written one featuring your program lately, create a news story yourself. Have you hired new faculty? Tell us about them. Was someone in your program quoted in an outside news story? Summarize and link to that story. Having recent content on your website lets folks know that the lights are on and someone is home.
  • Directory Pages - Set a reminder in your calendar to check directory pages every year. You'll need to email your faculty to get updates on their work. Try to have fresh pictures of your faculty at least every 5 years. Remove directory pages of people who no longer work at W&M. If someone dies, [[kalarrieu, contact Kathy]] and she'll help you set up a memorial page. 
  • Events Calendar - Nothing says "no one's home" like an empty events calendar. Nothing? Really? Remember that you can borrow events from other calendars. If nothing else, you can borrow the next "First day of classes" event from the academic calendar.
Your Website Report

Kathy periodically creates and provides you with a report on your website, with recommendations. When you get your report, schedule time with Kathy and anyone else in your unit with website responsibilities. We can review the recommendations together, and plan how to tackle updates and revisions.

Pay Attention to Feedback
Feedback can come in many forms: A spike in student questions about something, an email reporting a broken link, someone submitting an outdated form, Kathy's reports, faculty complaints, etc. Pay attention! Usually, once an issue is identified, the solution seems obvious. [[kalarrieu, contact Kathy]] if you want to think things through.