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About Gerry McGovern

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net
The Dangers of Publishing your Website in Another Language

Publishing your website in another language is like managing a brand new website. It demands people who are expert in writing and editing in that language. The standard of English on the Web, for example, is often poor, even for those whose native language it is. It can be embarrassingly bad for websites publishing English as a foreign language.

If you Can’t Measure it, you Can’t Manage it

Intranets don’t self-organize. Without planned, centralized information architectures and clearly defined published processes, they become unproductive. Intranets often have applications that either don’t work properly, are too difficult to learn, or have no clear business benefit. Applications, like content, must be able to establish a clear return on investment.

Publish What you can Manage

There is a view in some organizations that an intranet is only for staff, so you can publish what you want. Quality content matters as much on an intranet as on a public website. Get your content right to begin with. Keep it right by removing out-of-date content.

Making Knowledge Sharing Work

The intranet is beginning to restructure the organization in more ways than one. Content is now an asset, and the people who manage it need to treat it as such. Managing editors, and their team, understand how technology can facilitate effective publishing, collaboration and self-service focused application development.

Putting Someone in Charge of Your Intranet

Finally, organizations are getting serious about how they manage their intranets. The intranet is now moving out of an evolutionary, experimental phase into a more systematic, managed phase. It is being seen as an asset, a driver of productivity. However, return on investment measurement for the intranet still requires a lot of work.

Information Architecture: Webpage Mental Maps Emerge

When people come to your website they have a mental map of how their ‘ideal’ webpage should be. They expect to see certain things in certain places. They expect to read certain killer words in your classification and content. The more you meet their mental map, the more successful your website will be.

Why Personalization Hasn’t Worked Online

Personalization hasn’t worked because most people don’t have a compelling reason to personalize. It hasn’t worked because the cost of doing it well usually significantly outweighs the benefits it delivers. It hasn’t worked because managers have seen it as some Holy Grail of content management.

You Need a Five-Year Plan For Your Website

Websites change the way an organization communicates with its staff, customers, investors and general public. A change in communication is a major shift for the organization. To effectively implement such a change will take time. You need a five-year plan for your website.

Websites Require Flexible Not Fixed Design

A website needs to be flexible. It needs to be able to change as the organization changes. The more change within the organization the more flexible the website needs to be. Too many websites are still being designed from a print perspective; as if they were some once-off brochure.

Site Design: Think The Way Your Customer Thinks

One of the biggest challenges an organization faces is to stop thinking it’s the center of the universe. Customers think that they are the center of the universe. Customers come to your website to get their needs fulfilled. They will only think you are great if you meet their needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

The Lifecycle Of Large Websites

If you’re part of a large organization, your website will probably have been started by a small group of evangelists. It will have grown in a very ad hoc manner. Gradually, senior management will have become more involved. Finally, the website will have been viewed as just another business tool, and managed as such.

Quality Web Publishing Is About Saying No

Are the people who have least to say in your organization publishing most on your intranet or public website? Are the people who have most to say publishing least? You’re not alone. Organizations are slowly realizing that managing a website is as much about what you don’t publish as what you do.

Seven Deadly Sins Of Web Writing

What’s the single most important thing that could improve the Web? It’s not broadband. It’s better writing. The general quality of writing on the Web is poor. The way you write has a major impact on what people think of you. Avoid these common mistakes and you will achieve more with your website.

Start Measuring The Cost And Value Of Your Content

Frederick W. Taylor, in his book, The Principles of Scientific Management (1911), wrote about how waste in activity was a greater problem than material waste. He wrote about planning, organizing, training, management and measurement, as ways to address the problem. Today, we require a new form of Taylorism; one that addresses efficiency in content publishing.

Web Team Roles And Responsibilities Are Changing

A major shift is occurring in relation to who is in charge of the Web. Previously, responsibility tended to be with IT. Occasionally, marketing was in charge. Today, the website, particularly the intranet, is the responsibility of the communications department. This is as it should be.

Content Management: Critical Skill Of The Modern Manager

The Internet has changed how organizations manage. Historically, management was focused on ‘walking and talking.’ Today, ‘reading and writing’ are becoming more and more central. This trend is reinforced by a recent META Group study, which found that 80 percent of business people choose email as their primary communication tool.

Metadata Is Essential Web Writing Skill

Metadata is one of the most misunderstood aspects of content management and website design. Editors and writers tend to look at it as a technical issue. Technical people look for a software solution. Both are wrong. Metadata is a fundamental skill that web writers and editors must acquire.

Content Management: Seeking The Silver Bullet

There is no silver bullet that will solve your web content problem. There is no magical formula, no sleek software, that will take away the pain of badly written, badly organized content. Creating quality content that is well organized requires a lot of training, skill and hard work.

10 Rules Of Writing For The Web

Writing for the Web is not the same as writing for print. People read differently on the Web. They scan read-jumping quickly from one piece of content to the next. People are much more action-orientated on the Web. They get online to get something done. Words should always be driving actions.

Fast-Downloading Websites Are Still Important

People are impatient on the Web. They are function and task orientated. They want to get things done as quickly as possible. The average person is still accessing the Web over a 56 KB modem. You should therefore have a major focus on ‘light’ webpages if you want to increase reader-satisfaction.

Why Organizations Think Of Web Content Like They Think Of Invoices

Embedded deep within the psychic of the traditional organization is the view of content as an historical record. This view sees content as describing an event that has occurred. Web content is a driver of the event. Web content is action-oriented. That’s the big shift and many organizations have not grasped it.

Usability Is Good Management

The professional manager is always looking for feedback. They test their plans and theories constantly. They are sensitive to cues within their environment, adapting as appropriate. The website manager operates within a feedback-starved environment. Thus, they need to be much more proactive in seeking feedback. Usability is a way of doing this.

Self-Service Requires People To Deliver Full Benefit

Convenience is a major reason why people use the Web. It’s faster and more efficient than getting in the car or picking up the phone. Many organizations see the Web as a self-service environment where labor costs can be reduced. Self-service and convenience are not always in sync. Where that happens, nobody benefits.

Drawbacks Of Real-Time Information

Real-time information has become just one more Holy Grail for organizations. Yes, it is important to get information quickly. However, getting too much information too quickly does not make for good decisions. There can be a big difference between acting quickly and acting wisely.