Maximizing web presence is about more than paragraphs, pictures and pixels. It takes purposeful content creation, masterful marketing and targeted delivery. Too bad there's no plug-and-play when it comes to strategy. But there is education. Check out these lessons-to-learn and things to keep in mind:
Case Western Reserve University offers free online, video-based training via Lynda.com. Access Lynda.com through the ITS website. Use your Case ID and password to sign in.
Explore the Web + Interactive offerings. We highly recommend learning about CSS/CSS3, HTML5 and user experience to start. You may also want to check out design lessons, web strategy/planning, accessibility principles and scripting languages, among a couple hundred others.
If you intend on using tools like Dreamweaver, Photoshop or WordPress, please take the Lynda.com training on your required software packages.
Already a social media guru? Or are you preparing to pursue social success for a university department or school? Whatever your profile, the following pointers and best practices for rocking the social sphere are for you:
How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? We use analytics to learn what users are actually reading, how long they're staying, where they're sharing and what they're searching. Google Analytics is free; becoming an analytics whiz is a worthwhile investment. Learn what to measure, how to read reports and how these numbers should inform your next moves.
Truth is, it doesn't really matter what your site looks like if it doesn't have great content. You are what they read. Web content development isn't just putting a brochure online; it's organizing an effective experience that moves your users through information they're seeking and precisely what you want them to know.
Plain and simple: if your site isn't usable, it's useless. Webmasters often make the mistake of designing sites for themselves (or, worse, their bosses) instead of their users. But creating a web experience that serves your users and meets your goals isn't an elusive thing; it just requires time, research, compromise and common sense.