George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Getting Started

You think you're ready to create your new Mason website. Where do you begin?​

Get a Grip on What You've Got​​

Creating/updating a website is a bit like planting a flower bed. You're eager to get all those bright blooms into the ground, but there's a lot of prep work involved before you get to that step.

First up: Find out what you have now and what you'll need to gather to complete the process. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Overview: What is your site's goal? What is your unit/department's mission? Who are your audiences?
  • Current site: What’s on your site now? You'll need to conduct a content inventory of every page, every link, etc. You'll need to decide what stays, what needs an update, and what can go. You’ll also start getting an idea of what might be missing. Do you consistently get the same calls and questions? If so, there's an obvious need for that information, but people can't find it. Now's the time to see if you can provide those answers on your site in an easy, intuitive way.
  • Resources: Do you have people on your staff who can write/edit? Do you have photography? How about videos? Do you have someone designated to keep your site up to date? Is there someone you can detach from part of his or her job to lead this project, and will you give them the power they need to make sure others meet deadlines? There will be major demands on the time of all involved.
  • Social media: What resources do you have? Facebook? Twitter? Etc.? If you don’t have any, do you want them? If so, are you willing to devote the resources needed to maintain them? Remember, many of our students communicate with us through such avenues as Facebook and Twitter. Our alumni might keep in touch through LinkedIn. Social Media Director Kathy Dodd can help you set up new accounts or bring your current accounts up to standard.
A student at a computer

You'll need to make a list of all the technical functionality you have on your current site.

Well, If You Must Get Technical​​

When you go through your current site, you'll need to note any kind of functionality you have, especially if you use an outside vendor for an application, such as an appointment scheduler.

Our tech team will look at it and see if we can accommodate it on your new site, or provide the same functionality within the Drupal content management system.

You'll need to compile a list of all the technology you use, all the services that technology provides, a list of the vendors that provide it, and their contact information. Don't feel overwhelmed; our Drupal Developer, Mandy Richburg, will provide you with a worksheet to help you do this.

We'll also want to check in with you on your analytics. If you don't have Google Analytics monitoring your site now, we'll want to get that taken care of ASAP. We'll also want to be sure that we're collecting it not only for your site, but for the university as a whole. Contact our Digital Analytics Specialist Jan Macario to help you set this up.

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