About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

Automating Time Sensitive Information

December 4, 2005

Another task to consider automating is time sensitive information. If you have any time sensitive components on your website (this day in history, today's news, etc...) you can benefit greatly from automating the processes that release or publish those components of your website. Another class of time sensitive components includes items that you would want to release in a time-delayed manner, Some websites have specific publication intervals where they must publish by a given deadline, for example every Monday. The author may only have certain times of a month when they can write these articles. With some planning and modifications to your custom content management system the author could stockpile articles, allowing the CMS to release a new article every Monday. This kind of time delayed publication can free the author from altering their website on a fixed scheduled while meeting the website audience's expectations of timely updates.

Finally, anytime you consider automating a process, don't forget to consider the long term and think of your expected growth. Although automating something today may seem like as much work as you will save, does the same hold true if your website doubles in size? What if it expanded by a factor of ten? Will your methods of automation scale alongside your website? You may want to identify critical milestones to remind you when it's time to automate. For example, if you spend more than 1 hour per week doing a particular task, then it's time to automate. You may only be spending five minutes on it today, but it will be a reminder for the future. Keep one eye on the future while considering all of these issues. Automation will help you over some significant hurdles as your website exapands and grows.

The automation we've discussed in this article encompasses some of the more frequently automated processes, but presents only a few possibilities. Any task that requires repetition, is simple, or follows a fixed set of instructions is a candidate for automation. Remember though that just because something can be automated, it doesn't mean that it should be. The purpose of automation is to save you time. If you spend too much time developing the automation, it may never pay off with respect to the time you save. The goal of automation is to save you time. When you have more time, you will be able to focus on the things that need a human touch.

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