It’s 2008 in the real world. What year is your website or email newsletter in?
It’s a new year
There’s plenty to think about at the start of a new year — getting a programme together, arranging meetings, publicity and trainings.
Don’t forget the dates
Many websites, email newsletters and other materials include dates — copyright dates, the date when the material was last reviewed or revised, dates for upcoming events.
Now that 2008 has begun you need to check to see if you should update anything in your newsletters and other regular and irregular electronic publications.
Look carefully at your newsletter template (including headers, footers, signatures and copyright statements). Is there a date you should refresh? How about archives? Have you created a new ‘year’ for 2007 materials? The start of a new year is a time to have a good look around.
Many websites include a ‘last updated’ date on some or all pages. This can be quite a good idea as it allows a visitor to get an idea of the currency of the information. It can also backfire though, if you’re not careful.
Some information may be quite long lasting. For example, a page advocating eating fruit and vegetables and taking moderate exercise in the interests of remaining healthy is unlikely to need updating very often. On the other hand, a page of news about advances in health research may be updated several times a day.
When a visitor sees “Last updated June 2001”, though, they become wary, even where information may be long-lasting: “Hmmm, 7 years ago fruit and vegies were advocated. I wonder if it’s still the best way to go?”
For that reason it may be better to use the words: ‘Last reviewed’ (and to ensure you review all pages at least every couple of years).
Sorry, but the June 2007 meeting isn’t ‘coming soon’ — it’s been and gone. Check your News, Events, Meetings, Publications and Home Pages for those embarrassing out-of-dates. Leaving them around for long just makes your organisation look slack and disorganised. Visitors lose trust in an obviously out-of-date website.
These kinds of housekeeping are good jobs for cyber volunteers: people who cannot or don’t want to attend meetings, but who are willing to put in an hour or two a month, from home, using the Internet.
For more information about online volunteering look at www.community.net.nz/how-toguides/volunteering/casestudies/5-minute-volunteer.htm and www.community.net.nz/how-toguides/it/news/virtual-volunteer.htm.
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, February 2007. This article may have been modified from the original.