The first impression most people will get of your unit comes from your online presence. The competition for limited attention is tough, and visitors will decide to stay or go in seconds. And though numbers are nice for show, the most important measure of success is reaching your intended audience and getting them to act on that information.

Effectiveness is no accident. It requires a commitment of resources, which likely are scarce, so you need a strategy that includes logistics and tactics that you can support. The idea of an extensive website with lots of images and widgets is appealing, but is that what you need? Is there staff to maintain it? 

Will visitors come if you build it? Or are they on Facebook? Or LinkedIn? Or Twitter?

Are you? Should you be?

Developing a Strategic Online Presence

Developing a strategic online presence begins with several considerations:

  • Clearly articulate the goals of your school or department. Time spent on activities that don't advance those could be better spent elsewhere.
  • Assess your ongoing communication efforts. Are they thorough? Measurable? Professional? Is there a return worthy of your investment in time and money? Can those resources be reallocated?
  • Identify personnel and other resources. Take an honest inventory of the personnel, technology, tools, and time available for use, and plan not to overspend.
  • Decide in advance how you will measure success. Then periodically assess and refine your efforts and benchmarks.

Web Communications can review your strategy and provide logistical support to help reach your target audience with a professional UAB web presence. Templates available in our content management system Joomla can provide you branding consistency, audience-friendly design and navigation, easy-to-manage content updates, and, most important, Internet and network security. And we provide free guidance, tools, and resources to help you expand, upgrade, and evaluate your online presence.

Complete Communications Brief

A new website should begin with a plan that will help you use the Internet to meet your objectives and the needs of your visitors. Investing time to ask and answer specific questions will help ensure you have the content and functionality your visitors expect.

Download Communications Brief

Develop a Plan to Manage Content

After your communications objectives are defined, you need to outline a plan for meeting them that includes the needed resources.

Content can take many forms — words, photos, audio, video, or a link. It can be a story that offers insight into research results or promotes public service. It could be an invitation to an event, or photos or video from it. Your content can introduce readers to a newcomer, pat a student on the back, or give a retiring colleague a chance to say goodbye.

Download Plan to Manage Content