Avoid problems from cuts to gov websites

Wednesday - 6/29/2011, 4:46pm EDT

Dana Simberkoff, vice president of Public Sector, HiSoftware

Download mp3

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Last month, President Obama announced an initiative to cut wasteful spending - starting with eliminating dot-gov websites that were dated or unneeded.

But cutting government websites could actually multiply agencies' problems if the consolidation is not done properly, said Dana Simberkoff, vice president of Public Sector at HiSoftware.

Some websites still contain useful information citizens need, and other websites may link to those sites slated to be pulled offline, she said.

One solution is for agencies to create micro-sites within larger websites for sites that have been eliminated, she said.

Another consideration for agencies is the expiration date of some information they put online.

"Some sites can outlast their usefulness," Simberkoff said. Even worse - some information kept up too long could be non-compliant with government requirements, she added.

One solution is to set certain webpages on a timer within a content management system.

A website is a great way to communicate effectively with users, but agencies can also use social media to disseminate time-sensitive information, Simberkoff said. In fact, she said, all agencies should incorporate a social media strategy into their overall web strategy.

Agencies' use of social media has had "lots of stops and starts." As more dot-gov websites go dark, the government-wide consolidation efforts will force agencies to find "creative ways to communicate with citizens," she said.