Manage Website Information
When adding content to, or maintaining existing information for, a website it is important to ensure that information is current and relevant.
Keeping the content of your site up to date has numerous advantages, both for the site maintainer and users browsing the site:
- the website is simpler to maintain
- it is easier for users to find the information they require if the site is not cluttered with outdated, irrelevant information and
- disk space on the servers is kept to a minimum, which is a major issue when dealing with a site as large as the University website.
Consider likely visitors to your site and what information they are likely to be wanting the site to provide. To make your website as useful as possible it is important to target one or two specific groups of users. For example, prospective students may be your primary audience with current staff dealing with students your secondary audience. Although content of your site may be useful to the general public, they are not the main target group driving your content. Clearly identifying your audience gives you a focus for the content of your site.
Once you have identified the main audience for your site, you can work toward providing the information that these visitors need or want. It may also assist with categorising or organising the information you do provide in a way that would make sense to these users. Find out more on writing for the web.
To maximise the usefulness of your site, and to present a positive impression about your area, it is important to take the time to ensure the content is relevant, up-to-date and accurate. Incorrect, misleading or out-of-date information on a website is less useful than supplying no information on a topic. A website containing out-of-date or incorrect information diminishes the credibility of the website and the institution it represents.
Before adding any new content to your website it is worth considering if that information is:
- useful to the intended audience of your site
If the information is not relevant to your primary or secondary audience, then it may not belong on the website.
- public information
If the information should not be available for general viewing then it is necessary to consider how best to restrict access to the information and even whether making it available over the internet is appropriate. It may be that the information should be stored on a local network drive accessible by the individuals who need to access it.
- available elsewhere on the internet
If this information is already available elsewhere on the internet it may be better to link to the existing information rather than duplicating information on your own site. This saves resources and also means that you do not need to manually update your information when the other sources of information are updated, reducing the risks of providing out of date information on your site.
- appropriate for the University of Adelaide website
All material placed on the Web and linked to University or faculty home pages must relate only to the research, educational, community service and administrative purposes of the University. The conditions of use for University webpages are available in the University web guide.
Maintaining Current Information
Websites need regular maintenance to ensure that the information on them remains relevant, up-to-date and accurate. When reviewing the existing content of a website, consider the above points for adding new information and also:
- is the information current?
Is this still the most up-to-date information available. If not, update the page with the latest information. To assist with currency of information, it may be useful to list the date at which this information is current on the page.
- are all the links working and are they going to
the appropriate pages?
Check that all links to external sites are still working and that the pages they are going to are correct. It is often a good idea not to deep link into external sites, but to link to the top level of the site and provide basic instructions for how to get to the appropriate page. That way if the structure of the site is updated, this will not result in a broken link.
Archiving / Removing Unnecessary Information
When content is replaced with new content, make sure that older versions of pages and documents are archived off the web servers.