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Operations handbook, governance manual & practical video guide

5 video Web Manager's Masterclass (usually $14.99)
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An image of the front cover of Chapter 2, Website Maintenance

For example, do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Broken links
  • Missing images
  • Unanswered feedback
  • Badly spelled text
  • Missing page titles

Issues like these betray a site with insufficient operational support, i.e. too few people being asked to do too much.

While inadequate support can sometimes be due to real financial constraints, it often arises merely as a result of indifference. The truth is that some managers simply do not 'get' why a site needs constant attention. They think that once it is live, a website magically looks after itself!

The challenge for a webmaster is to explain that this is not the case and to demonstrate why regular maintenance is so necessary. One way of doing this is to show how these tasks can lead directly to a higher quality user experience.

For example, the success of a business may depend on how well customers can interact with a site. That is, are they able to complete transactions without technical errors? Are there any broken links or missing files? Is their feedback being responded to? When any of these are overlooked, there is an increasing likelihood of the site being ignored.

The Activities of Website Maintenance

The activities from which Website Maintenance is composed can be broken down into six areas. These are:

  • Publishing, meaning, how to keep content up-to-date.
  • Quality Assurance, meaning, how to spot errors on a site.
  • Feedback Monitoring, meaning, how to manage communication with website visitors.
  • Performance Monitoring, meaning, how to measure activity on a site.
  • Infrastructure Monitoring, meaning, how to ensure a sound technical footing for a site.
  • Change Control, meaning, how to manage ongoing technical or other changes in a co-ordinated way.

(Each of these will be explored in subsequent articles. We will also examine the people, processes and technology needed to support them.)

Website Maintenance Team

Before commencing the process of maintenance, a team must be appointed to carry out these tasks. This team is headed by a Maintenance Co-ordinator.

The seven roles within a maintenance teamIt is worth noting that for a small site, a Maintenance Team may simply consist of one person who expedites all activities as necessary.

However, larger sites usually require a greater complement of staff. They may also need assistance from other departments in order to carry out their duties. For example, in a big company some services may be provided centrally, e.g. Website Infrastructure or Change Control.

Maintenance Review Meeting

It is suggested that a Maintenance Team hold regular meetings at which issues of site administration can be discussed, e.g. weekly or fortnightly. Some typical agenda items might include:

  • A report by each team member on activity in their area of responsibility
  • A discussion of operational issues
  • Agreement on a plan for forthcoming changes

Where issues arise that cannot be resolved locally, these may be escalated to the next level. This normally consists some form of Website Management Team (WMT).

A WMT is composed of senior managers for whom the site constitutes an important asset. For example, key areas like Marketing/Communications are normally represented, as well as large functional areas with a significant presence, e.g. product divisions. As the ultimate authority in charge of a site, this team provides the guidance (and the budget!) needed to allow maintenance to occur.

The structures and procedures of Website Maintenance are explored in more detail in 'The Website Manager's Handbook', now on sale.

Online Management & Governance Manual

A fully-editable document that lists & describes all the practical elements of an online management system, including:
- Roles & Responsibilities
- Processes & Procedures
- Key Activities
- Tools & Technology

$9.99 :: Get the 61 page fully editable Manual

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Website Manager's Handbook | The original guide to online
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Gerry McGovern"Very clear and well written...a lot of practical depth...I'm sure that someone managing a large website, would find it genuinely useful." (Gerry McGovern). The Website Manager's Handbook is the original & bestselling guide to web management.

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Web Governance & Management Masterclass

Torben Rytt5 video classes with fully-illustrated lesson text including up-to-date insight for online operations & governance. Torben Rytt, CEO at Siteimprove commented that "Shane is extremely knowledgeable. His ability to communicate clearly makes working with him a no-brainer."

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