Monday, 3 October 2011

Lessons Learned 2: Sustainability Challenge

The area of sustainability of websites should be an important consideration for any funding that involves public money, both during the life-time of the project and after it. Especially when government funded agencies are being rationalised finding ways to keep the sites going even if they are not updated further, they still provide a ‘snap-shot’ of the resources at a particular point in time. This project looked at possible sustainability options and has the following recommendations:
·         A sustainable web solution should be considered for funded projects. There are a number of free options.
·         Google Sites is an appropriate solution if the number of pages is small, the formatting of the pages is not too complicated and it is a new web site.
·         Amazon is appropriate for both new and previously developed material is being migrated.
·         Dropbox is as in the Amazon solution appropriate for new and previously developed sites and is appropriate if only basic tracking tools such as Google analytics are needed.
·         Sustainable web solutions proposed are good as a back-up or archiving solution; but also can be used as the main site if the domain name is redirected to the new site.

As with all sites (or perhaps even more so due to these sites not necessarily having support, but still useful), following good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) principles are important. The site, we hope, is going to be use by others but the resources behind the site are likely to minimal. Following good SEO principles at least gives the site an improved chance of being picked up by the search engines. One possible advantage of the Google Sites approach is URL produced as standard is a little easier to interpret than some of the other techniques, which could have some benefits from a Search engine optimisation perspective. 

Some of this has been disseminated on a posting on a University of Northampton blog of ‘expert opinion’ ( aimed at disseminating ideas from the university to the wider community.

This work has been supported by funding from JISC. The site can be viewed at or Survey about this material can be found at: please feel free to fill it in or

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