Areas of Responsibility for Web Positions

One of the most popular pages on my site, getting hundreds of views a week, is my article on crafting web job descriptions. There are surprisingly few resources for this online. Given the demand, I’m working on expanding the article into an ebook on the topic: The Web Job Description Toolkit. I’ll cover more areas of responsibility in more detail, offer sample interview questions, job titles, discuss advertising positions, etc.

This book is targeted squarely at organizations that are not primarily web companies. For many of these companies, creating web positions can be a challenging task since they usually don’t have a lot of experience with the Web at the executive level, let alone in human resources. The purpose of this book is to help them understand the potential roles for web staff and how to design positions that will contribute the most value to their overall goals.

I’m working on the areas of responsibility that I’ll cover in the book. Below is my working list, with short descriptions. I recognize that many of these overlap or could have different labels. I appreciate any comments you may have on the list. Am I missing anything? Suggest another label for a section? Looks great? Let me know.

Anyone who comments and includes their full, real, name with the comment will get a thank you in the book! Include your e-mail and I’ll give you a free copy when it is published. (I reserve the right not to include spammers or abusive posts in this offer at my sole discretion.)

An important note about the list: the section labels are not job titles. They are areas of responsibility that can be mixed and matched to create position descriptions.

Here is the list, which is somewhat different from the original article:

Strategy
These deal with setting overall direction for your organization’s Web efforts. What are your goals? How do they support the overall goals of the organization? How do you intend to go about achieving them?

Management
This covers the day-to-day management responsibilities for running a Web team and the site. It also includes hiring, coaching and developing staff.

Content
Content is King, but someone has to be behind the curtain. This includes content authoring, editing and management duties. I’ll define this to include video, images and audio as well as text.

Marketing
This section will focus on marketing your web site. It will include search engine optimization, e-commerce, keyword advertising, etc.

Design
This covers the basics of web design, including developing overall look and feel, templates, user interfaces and supporting assets. It can also include interactive media such as Flash if your site requires it.

Findability
This is all about helping people to find your content once they are on your site. It covers information architecture, search engine tuning, navigation, etc. This could fit under content management as well but I think it’s important enough to break out.

Usability
Usability is important for any site but especially so for those that include a lot of data-driven applications or e-commerce. This section will identify responsibilities related to increasing the usability of your site. I will also cover accessibility here. This overlaps significantly with other sections but it is another one that deserves special attention, in my opinion.

User Support/Online Community
This section will cover the basics of user support tasks as well as more advanced Web 2.0-style community liaison roles.

Technical Administration
Keep the servers up and running. I’ll cover the basics here but it won’t go into the depth that this one topic deserves. That’ll have to wait for another book.

Programming
Same as above, I will cover the basic responsibilities for developing web applications here but won’t go into great detail.

Thanks for your comments!

And finally, if you would like to receive periodic e-mail updates about the book, sign up using the form on this page. I will not use your e-mail for any purpose other than Toolkit announcements unless you sign up for other e-mail newsletters on my site.

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2 thoughts on “Areas of Responsibility for Web Positions

  1. I’d like to see more discussion of Training and even (gasp!) the word Support. Much of what we do on the web now is support, coach and train users to empower them with content management systems. So Trainer and Coach are words I definitely associate with any successful “web” position.

    Regarding strategy, I suspect the web person can only be held accountable to execute strategy if the organization has a written vision and mission statement. If we don’t know the goal, taking that lack of direction online will simply lead to more lack of direction.

    Thanks for encouraging the dialog!

    Ed

  2. Thanks for the comments, Ed. Totally agree about training and support for non-web staff. I’ll look into either putting that under Content or into its own category.

    Not sure I’m with you on strategy. Strategy can be goal oriented even if the mission and vision are unclear. For example, if the goal is to sell 10,000 conference registrations, how can the Web site best contribute to that? E-mail with landing pages? Google advertising with landing pages? Word of mouth tools? A mix of all? That’s web strategy.

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