Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: Caution, Construction Zone Ahead—Website Migration Underway

The Association of State Wetland Managers’ website at aswm.org is due for a makeover—long overdue in fact.  The website is like an old house with way too many additions and rooms piled high with stuff no one can find.   This weekend (April 3rd and 4th) the existing website will be retired to oldaswm.org and a new aswm.org will take its place.  The final piece of the shift will require taking down the Compleat Wetlander blog, upgrading to the latest version of WordPress, and putting it up again.  It’s not entirely clear how smoothly this will occur.  Thus, the Compleat Wetlander blog is likely to disappear for a few days while Will, our IT guy, works the required magic.  The blog move is the final step in a remarkable exploration into the complexities of owning real estate on the internet.For example an analysis using Google analytics revealed that the majority of people visiting aswm.org are using older versions of Internet Explorer.  Most state and federal agency staff are prohibited from installing newer versions themselves. This required making the site backwards compatible at least to IE 7, further complicated by the fact that Microsoft often chooses to ignore internet protocols.

The goal of any website is to be visible in Google searches— preferably to end up on the first page of a Google search.   Our goal was to enable searches for wetland material to quickly identify the useful information on the aswm.org site.  In the past ASWM unknowingly implemented practices that lowered its Google ranking.  For example, Google doesn’t search PDF files so those documents are invisible to the search engine.  Also, it is a bad practice to post the same document in more than one place.  Already these and other changes made to the new site have been so successful that even as a beta test site, Google searches placed the new ASWM site above the existing website.  A couple of weeks ago we posted “under construction” signs on the beta site to avoid confusion.

We’re very excited about the new website.  It provides us with room to grow in content and services to our member and the public at large.  At the same time that we’ve been working on the new site, ASWM has also been gaining experience with webinar technology, video and audio recording and other tools that can be used in the future to improve the delivery and palatability of useful accurate, information about wetlands.

Our ongoing goal is to provide relevant information to wetland professionals and others interested in wetlands who visit our site.  You can help us in the coming weeks by sending comments about any problems, suggesting links to existing materials and recommending future content to develop and add.

Finally we need help reaching out to those websites that currently link to ASWM.  Come Monday morning, those links will no longer work.  Our website will still be aswm.org, but it will have been entirely restructured and the old links will break.  Some webpages from the old aswm.org site will have redirect information pointing to a new webpage. However, this won’t be the case for all webpages. For information about what is needed to update links to aswm.org, please send an e-mail to will@aswm.org.

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