It’s true there’s no “I” in team. But there’s also no “team” in solo manager.
When I started working on the web in higher education, there wasn’t much of an organizational framework around me. Control of the university’s online presence was up for grabs — a hot potato bouncing between the Information Technology and Marketing and Communications departments.
Only a handful of us raised our hands when asked, “Who wants to run this thing?”
Ten years later, the attitude is different. Most university websites are controlled by dedicated marketing units.
The challenge is finding the resources for these units to grow.
It’s not uncommon to find an institution’s website resting on the shoulders of two or three dedicated staffers … or, often, just one. While expectations for university sites have grown, the staff required to meet those expectations has not kept pace.
So what’s a web team of one to do? First, take a deep breath and know you are not alone. If you find yourself with the full weight of a college or university’s website on your shoulders, here are three tips for survival:
You can’t do it all. But there are some things you can do. Develop a real strategy. Revisit information architecture. Audit site content. Enhance search engine optimization. Capture better photographs.
Think about what might make the most impact and put it at the top of your list. Moving down the list may take a while, but by ticking off one success at a time, you will establish positive momentum and get more done.
There’s always going to be a bigger, better tool to use. Why pay a premium for sophisticated social media monitoring software when all the information you need is available for free in products like Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and Facebook Page Insights?
Some tools are designed with the higher ed web solo artist in mind. mStoner offers Buzzr Higher Ed, a simple CMS focused on ease of use for content contributors. Such systems alleviate the need for additional resources while allowing small teams to keep content fresh.
Higher education isn’t just an industry, but a community. There are scores of people in the same boat and willing to share their experience, thoughts, and advice. Conferences can be a great place to start — CASE Social Media and Community, HighEdWeb, and the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Education are some of the best.
But even if conference travel isn’t in the budget, willing collaborators can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They exist. Higher Ed Live, the live, weekly web show, is an incredible resource, as are free whitepapers like our latest, “Redesigning Your Website: Asking the Right Questions, Finding the Right Partner.”
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below to get started.