Has this happened at your school?
- The history department wants a more memorable URL… so they create their own website outside your institution’s system.
- The mathematics staff wants control over site design… so they create their own website outside your institution’s system.
- A program needs a web page for a one-time event… so they create their own website outside your institution’s system.
If yes, you’ve been afflicted with rogue websites!
A modern content management system (CMS) is designed to address web and digital marketing needs. The problem is that a lot of colleges and universities use older systems that lack functionality and don’t have user buy-in. When an unmet need is perceived, users create content outside of the institution’s website and CMS workflow. So what’s the harm?
HARM #1: LACK OF A UNIFIED WEB PRESENCE
Managing pages using a modern CMS can ensure your school’s brand is used accurately and consistently. Uniform branding assures visitors that information on the site is official, and content that’s consistent with your overall brand and message can strengthen your search engine optimization efforts.
HARM #2: LEGAL RISKS AND ACCESSIBILITY PROBLEMS
The risk of creating rogue websites goes beyond visitor satisfaction. A lack of web standards compliance can mean legal issues. A modern CMS can enforce accessibility standards, while external sites may not.
HARM #3: INEFFICIENT AND UNSUSTAINABLE
A modern, multi-user CMS with workflow and approval processes should increase the speed that content goes live. Additionally, a modern CMS allows your website to evolve with very little effort through features like templates that can be modified as web technology advances.
Rogue websites dangerously trade short-term perceived gains for long-term efficiency and sustainability.
STEPS TO TAME THE BEAST
So how can you prevent and deal with rogue websites?
- Make sure needs are being met – Facilitate dialog to bridge the gap between the benefits of a CMS and rogue user needs.
- Establish a web advisory council – A council of influential individuals can advise on website development, as well as implement and enforce policies and guidelines.
- Explain the value of the brand – Help users understand the importance of branding for all of the school’s online content.
Given the functionality of a modern CMS like OU Campus™, your users should feel empowered to create web and digital marketing content without going rogue.
Want more information on taming the beast? Check out this webinar on higher ed web governance on OmniUpdate’s website.