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Sarah Crane: The power behind the portal

Sarah Crane

Sarah Crane enhances the reach and influence of USA.gov through a variety of techniques and tools, because there is no 'one single silver bullet.' (FCW photo)

Sarah Crane is director of USA.gov, which is the government's official Web portal and aims to provide "government information and services when and where you want them." It had more than 50 million visits in fiscal 2012 and has a rare Google PageRank of 10. And just last month, Crane and her team launched a responsive design feature that adjusts the page display based on the device being used, thereby enhancing the mobile experience.

"That's a great example of her leadership in keeping our website up-to-date and innovative in nature," said David McClure, associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Bev Godwin, director of the Federal Citizen Information Center at GSA and former director of USA.gov, said Crane was the clear choice to succeed her as director. Godwin, who hired Crane 12 years ago, hailed her leadership and fair-minded management style.

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"She has really transformed the USA.gov brand," Godwin said. "It's not just a website, it's a brand for...citizens to get trusted information from the government."

McClure agreed. "She's one of these people…[whose] behind-the-scenes work makes a big difference in what the public is seeing and getting from the government."

That public reach, Crane noted, is even broader than the traffic statistics would suggest: The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Yahoo have syndicated content from the site. "That's because we have people writing content about issues that matter to the people and adding a really unique value because it's coming from the government," she said.

"There's not one single silver bullet," Crane added. "Social media certainly helps because you have the power of multipliers and people sharing your messages with their friends and their communities. But another big contributor to the reach of USA.gov is the quality of our brand."

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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