The website is the University’s largest and most heavily utilized marketing and communications tool. Everything we do – press releases, media relations, marketing pieces, awareness campaigns, print publications, social media, crisis communications, communicating with students about classes and campus events – all of it points back to the website. It is mission critical.
The office of Digital Communications within University Relations is responsible for providing an effective web presence for UMW.
Creating an effective web presence at UMW requires a team approach and means providing training and support to content contributors to help them develop strategic, crafted, sustainable user experiences in support of departmental and institutional goals.
- Showcase the vibrancy and distinctiveness of UMW.
- Manage and further develop the umw.edu content management system, WordPress. Includes troubleshooting and corrective action.
- Work closely with IT to ensure the viability of the web and its hosting platforms.
- Assist in ensuring that the University website is available 24/7/365.
- Establish a strong, clear, user supportive information architecture.
- Establish brand appropriate design and publishing guidelines.
- Provide criteria for developing quality content to ensure all UMW web pages communicate a consistent message, style, and visual identity.
- Monitor web analytics to track web site traffic and produce regular reports on general usage and special initiatives.
- Ensures visibility in search engines, both internal and external, and monitors SEO.
- Ensure compliance with state and federal accessibility requirements and established best practices.
- Train and empower content contributors in their efforts to meet departmental and institutional goals using the UMW website.
- Study other websites, attend conferences, and stay abreast of requirements, trends, and best practices.
- Engage with the greater UMW community by spearheading a university-wide Web Advisory Council.
Now that the migration of content into WordPress has been completed and there are a significant number of departmental site managers trained in its basic use, we’re beginning to utilize the established infrastructure to turn the website into a strategic, sustainable, institutional asset. The focus now is on identifying goals and building a team to support institutional success. To that end, we’re working on:
- Establishing quality baselines using Siteimprove (implemented, in process)
- Improving the mobile user experience (phase 1 implemented, monitoring user data)
- Providing guidelines and support to help content managers build positive, goal driven user experiences (consultant engaged, in process)
- Rebranding the website to match approved University styles (phase 1 discovery in process)
- Creating an efficient and effective training process for WordPress, accessibility basics, and web content development best practices (phase 1 – Fall 2014)