Before committing to a longterm resource intensive website for your project or event consider these alternative options:
The first step for most projects is to announce their existence on an umbrella or sister website. If your project is under one of the departments or the college make sure it’s promoted on the department and college websites. It could be added to a list of projects, posted as an aside or advertisement, linked to in a related article, or announced as a news item.
If there is a similar or complimentary project on campus ask them to help promote your project too. Consider offline promotional options as well. Look for newsletters, e-newsletters, list serves, publications, events board or bulletin board where you can promote your project.
If you don’t have a website use one of the promotions on the department or college site as a landing page for your other promotions or include direct contact information or link to a social network, email or wiki.
First, don’t forget to also ask your peers to promote your project on their social networks. Then consider starting one yourself. The Web team are not experts on social networking but we have a few tips. One thing we do know is that if you can’t keep a social network updated and people engaged then you definitely shouldn’t have a website.
Other Online Tools
When you’re just starting out it may only be necessary to have something to link to or a place to start storing and sharing information. You can link to documents in UT Box or on Google Drive. You can link to stored research and scholarship on the UT Digital Repository or to digital assets stored in the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS). You can create a wiki and you can direct people to fill out a form or survey using Qualtrics.
Before You Create a Website
You must have a mission, vision and brand for your project. You will need visual assets to begin to create an identity. It will help to determine the voice, tone and style for all things associated with your project. You must also know who your audience is and know how writing for the Web is different than writing for print. You should start with an outline that will lead to the pages and navigation for your site. You must have a content strategy and the ongoing time and resources to maintain the site. Learn Content Strategy Basics from usability.gov.