GUIDELINES FOR MAINTAINING GOVERNMENT WEBSITES
The internet revolution is here to stay. No other
phenomenon in the history has brought about such an unprecedented technological
boom as that of Internet and the World Wide Web. The major growth of Internet
has occurred within in last ten years only. Sources state that today nearly
2000 new users get on to the Internet every month. Individuals and
organizations all across the globe are competing with each other for
establishing an effective presence on the Internet. Also, the Governments of
various Countries are realising the importance of carving out a niche for
themselves on the Global Medium of Internet. Since the World Wide Web has
proved its potential as a powerful means of disseminating information, it is
being realized all over the world that this medium can be utilized, in an
extremely effective way, to make people aware of government policies and
programmes and solicit their active and direct contribution to the process of
governance. It is here that is the importance of having good government web
sites comes into light.
What consititutes a 'Good'
Government Web Site?
Although the look and style of every website
depends on the nature of the content it carries, there are certain common
ingredients which go on to make a good government web site. They include the
1. Authenticity of Information
There is certain level of trust imposed on a
government web site by the visitors who expect the web site to be reliable and
authentic source of official government information. Therefore it is vital that
every word which appears in government web site has been duly verified by the
appropriate authorities in the Ministry/ Department to which the web site
2. Citizen Friendly Interface
Information on government policies and programmes
can be quite voluminous in nature. Hence it is important for the web site to
have a well defined structure so that the visitor can easily find the
information he/she is looking for. Also, its imperative to make sure that the
language of the content on the website is simple and easy to understand. As far
as possible, a bi-lingual version of the site (Hindi and English) should be
developed. Multimedia features (audio/video) can also be used to enrich the web
site further enabling it to make a good impact on the visitors.
3. Up-to-date Information
Even a perfectly designed website can turn out to
be a disappointment for the visitors if the information on the website is not
regularly updated. Since a web site is the reflection of the organization
before the audience, they expect to get the latest and uptodate information
about the activities, events, schemes, programmes etc. from its web site before
they see it in the Press or elsewhere. Therefore, its imperative that the
information on the website is always latest and up-to-date, and whenever any
new activity takes place in a Ministry, the news/information gets reflected on
the website at least simultaneously, if not earlier than it appears in the
Press . The procedure to be followed for updation of the web site is suggested
later in the document.
4. Accountability towards the Visitors
Just as any Government's foremost duty is to be
accountable towards the citizens, its extremely important for a Govt. website
to be accountable to the visitors. In other words, its imperative that the
queries, suggestions and grievances of the people submitted through the web
site are carefully attended to and a prompt response mechanism is in place.
Government Web Site Structure - the necessary
Though the structure of a website essentially
emanates from the nature of the activites that the concerned
Ministry/Department carries out, there are certain necessary information
elements which are important to be present in a comprehensive Government web
About the Ministry/Department
Role and Functions
Major projects and Schemes
Public Services (if any)
Press Releases / Announcements
Messages from the Minister/Secretary
Contact Addresses/Tel No/ Email of the Senior
Officers and Important Functionaries of the Ministry/Department
Guidelines for Updating the Web
As mentioned earlier in the Document, it is vital
to sustain a web site after it is launched by keeping the information on it
up-to-date and by regularly adding on more and more new information to it. The
following guidelines have to be borne in mind while updating the sites:
Due to the sensitive nature of the Government information, it
is imperative that the information put on the official web sites is authentic
and accurate. Therefore, the identification of the content to be updated has to
be handled by the Ministry/Department themselves. For this purpose, it is
proposed that a proper updation plan is worked out in the Ministry which
delegates the task of providing timely updations to various
Divisions/Departments. Any modifications/changes in the information about the
Ministry has to be reflected on the web site in the minimum possible time.
Moreover, it has to be ensured that if any new Tenders/Notices are released by
the Ministry to the Press, a copy is sent for uploading on the web site at the
In most of the Ministries/Departments, NIC has placed its own
officers who are looking after the overall IT requirements of the respective
Deptt/Ministry. Once the Ministry/Department identifies the text to be updated,
the same should be handed over to the concerned NIC Officer in the digital form
(as per the requirement of the respective website) so that it gets uploaded on
the web site.
The NIC co-ordinating officer, will in turn, ensure that the
updations are carried out 3without any delay and would inform the concerned
authorities once the updations are carried out on the web site.
The Ministry/Department should then adequately verify that all
the updations have been carried out as desired and the web site is in proper
It is advised that Ministry/Department must visit the
respective website from time to time to ensure the uptodateness of the content.
Promote your web site : Some
The entire effort of launching a web site bears
fruit only when it is visited by its target audience in large numbers. And for
that, it is extremely important to ensure that the desired audience get to know
about the site and can access it easily. Here comes the importance of
publicizing and popularising the web site. Some useful tips in this regard
include the following :
The web site should be registered with as many search engines/directories as
possible, under appropriate categories. As a part of its services, NIC
registers the web sites hosted on its web servers with 5-6 major search engines
and also with the India Image web site and the GOI Directory being
maintained by NIC itself at http://goidirectory.nic.in.
Apart from the above, efforts can be made to register the web site with as many
other search engines as possible. Please note that registering a web site with
search engines is a free of cost activity and does not require any user
authentication.The Ministry/Department can also ask their co-ordinating NIC
officer to assist them in registering the web site with as many search
engines/directories as they can.
The Associated/Attached Offices under a Ministry/Department
which have their individual web sites can be requested to provide a link to the
official web site of the Ministry/Department from their Home Page.
At the launch of the web site, it has to be made sure that the
URL appears correctly in the Press release regarding the web site.
All the stationery items such as Letterheads, Visitng Cards ; Publicity
material such as Brochures, Pamphlets and documents such as the Annual Report
should display the URL of the web site.
All the advertisements/public messages issued in the
Newspapers/Radio/ TV by the concerned Ministry/Department should mention the
URL of the web site clearly so that it gets due publicity.
All the Press Releases given out by the Ministry/Department
should be immediately put on the web site. Infact, once the procedure is
streamlined, the Press can be asked to pick up the Press Releases from the web
This document has been
prepared by Web Services and Multimedia Applications Division, National
Informatics Centre, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of
Communications and Information Technology . © All Rights Reserved