Handles the overall responsibility for the written content and editorial quality of the finished site. He or she creates the editorial tone for the web site, determines style guidelines, and works with clients and content domain experts to collect, organize, and deliver finished text to the production team. In smaller teams the editor creates site copy, interviews domain experts to create content, and may be responsible for creating news and feature material for the site. Experienced editors also play an increasingly important role in the technical and production aspects of site content, ensuring that written content from the sponsoring organization is provided on time, in the specified editorial and technical markup format, and with sufficient quality to meet site goals. This technical aspect of content formatting is particularly important in sites where the content is ultimately delivered through a cms, in xml, or from dynamic links to a content database.
Because most search engine optimization (seo) efforts are based on careful, consistent use of keyword language and heading markup, the web editor is also the team member most likely to lead the day-to-day efforts to make the site as search-friendly as possible. Keeping the site optimized for both local search engine visibility (using your own local search tools within your site) and keeping public sites maximally visible to general Internet search engines like Google and Yahoo! are crucial strategic components of making the new content accessible and findable for your audience.
Unlike the other site development roles described above, the site editor’s role is a long-term job, bridging the transition from a site development project into an ongoing web publication process that maintains the web site after launch and keeps the content fresh and relevant to your audience. If the project manager is the focal point of the early stages of creating your site, then the site editor should gradually assume the leadership role in the stages just before, during, and after the site launch. This transition of responsibilities ensures that the site won’t become an orphan after the project team leaves the launch party and moves on to new assignments.