Who Should Maintain Your Site?

"Content Owners" Rather Than "Webmasters"

The web site is not a separate concern from the rest of your business practices. Do not assign a webmaster—one specialist who updates all content. The webmaster approach is a throwback to the days when updating your web site was a technical task requiring specialized knowledge. The best person to maintain a given piece of content is the person who cares most about that content.

For instance, if your unit has one person in charge of advising, that person should maintain the advising-related content on the site. If that is not feasible, that person should at least feel that they own the content. They should review the content regularly and make sure that it gets updated.

A Typical Web Team Structure

To keep communication straightforward and to prevent conflicting requests, we ask all units to name two key contacts. In some smaller units, one person may fulfill both roles.

  • Site Owner: The individual who will be the ultimate decision-maker for their site. This tends to be the chair or director of the department or program the site represents. In some cases, this person is intimately involved in the daily maintenance of the site. In some, this person does not choose to have access to the CHSSWeb system at all. If no site owner is assigned to the site, we assume the site manager is the owner.
  • Site Manager: The person who contacts the CHSSWeb team with questions, issues, etc. This person should feel ownership of the entire site, even the parts that someone else maintains. This person will have editing rights on the site and will be the person the CHSSWeb team contacts first for any news, questions, or concerns. This person will also receive automated updates such as the Banner import reports. Every site must have a site manager.

In addition to those two contacts, content ownership may be organized parallel to the unit's structure:

  • Information for Undergraduate Students: Owned by the Director of Undergraduate Programs, the Undergraduate Coordinator, or the Undergraduate Advisor
  • Information for Graduate Students: Owned by the Director of Graduate Programs or the Graduate Coordinator
  • Classes (uploading syllabi, entering descriptions, etc.): Owned by the staff member who otherwise would collect syllabi, gather the descriptions of sections, etc.
  • etc.

Again, every unit is different. The main point here is that the web should not be an afterthought, a separate issue from the rest of the unit's concerns.