Producing and managing content for your website is one of the most important tasks to get right. No matter how well designed your site is, it is the content that your users are looking for.
Planning the content
Before you write any content you should decide what information your users are likely to want and what information you want them to know.
Producing the content
Once you know what content you need, you have to decide how to produce it. The best approach to creating content is to do it in stages.
Someone needs to:
- write the content
- approve the content
- publish it on the website.
In practice, this can be done by one person or several. The important issue is that you need to establish a system that allows proper checks to be made on information that will appear publicly on your website.
You should apply the same standards as you would for publishing a research paper. The information has to be accurate and reflect well on your research.
You may wish to produce a style guide to help ensure that your content is consistent.
Content management systems (CMS)
The best way to manage web content is to use a content management system. This is software that allows non-technical people to manage and publish content themselves. It is very useful if you have a big site that is likely to change frequently.
Some content management systems are free, eg the basic version of WordPress. Others can be expensive and the market for buying them is highly developed and competitive. In this area more than any other you are likely to be offered much more functionality than you can ever need or want – but at a price. It may be that your college or university already has a content management system, in which case it is better to negotiate to use their system.