Best Practices for Managing WSU Web Pages
Before You Get Started
A web project involves web pages on the weber.edu domain and can include changing visual elements, adding or removing text, or creating a new page (or series of pages) altogether. If you choose to go outside the weber.edu domain, you will lose our IT and web design support.
Once we've completed a web project for you, the maintenance is your responsibility. Before you get started maintaining this site, there are a few steps you need to take to familiarize yourself with Site Manager and best practices for maintaining WSU’s professional, cohesive online presence. Anyone with access to your site is required to review all trainings and resources linked below.
Identify your main “web guru” who will be the primary point of contact for maintaining the site. Giving every single person in your department access to edit the website is strongly discouraged. Please pick one to two people to act as a primary point of contact for anyone within the department who needs changes made to the site. For larger sites, access may need to be given to others for certain pages, but be judicious.
- Take Site Manager training.
- Review Site Manager 5 Training in LinkedIn Learning.
- Sign up for Site Manager training in Training Tracker in your eWeber Portal.
- If you still have questions after completing these trainings, please reach out. We are happy to schedule a meeting to answer questions or walk you through a certain process with which you are struggling.
- Read our webpage on Writing for the Web. It will help you learn about how to best organize your content on a webpage, write good headings and more.
Our accessibility standards for the web document is required reading for every person who will be editing a page on your site. Making sure our web pages are accessible to those with disabilities is a top priority for Weber State. Along with being good practice in general, web accessibility is now required by law as part of The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act in the U.S., and a range of international regulations. Websites that do not meet these standards leave Weber State vulnerable to lawsuits.
These guidelines will help you make sure your new site continues to look professional and cohesive.
- Perform regular maintenance. Make it a once-a-semester project to update faculty/staff pages, and make sure someone is regularly updating news/events pages. Schedule these updates on your calendar at the beginning of the year so you don’t forget. Outdated information makes your site look unprofessional.
- Have someone proofread when you are making changes to a page. Even the best of us make mistakes, and there are few things that make a website seem more unprofessional than a prominent typo.
- Label links descriptively. Avoid vague wording like “click here,” or “visit this page.” Link text should clearly identify what the user will find on the new page.
- Example: For more information, see our Homecoming Event Schedule.
- Seek help if something is beyond your scope (More on that below!).
- Add a new main navigation tab for every single page you add to the site. Websites that are poorly organized, or have 25 main navigation tabs, are hard to navigate, and your users will have a hard time finding what they’re looking for. Reach out to the contacts listed below for assistance in finding an appropriate place for new content/pages on your site.
- Use academic jargon. Web content should be in simple English, and broken into scannable sections.
- Put text on images. Text overlaid on an image or within a graphic file cannot be seen by a screen reader, so visually impaired users will miss it. Include the information within your page. If it is necessary to use a complex graph or image to convey information, you can contact Marketing & Communications to see if there are ways to make it accessible.
- Add all new info at the top of the page. Think about where any new information fits in the context of the page(s) as a whole and add it where appropriate.
- Use larger or different color text for emphasis. For example, don’t use red text or underlined text to try to emphasize something.
- Swap out photos - contact Dave Brogan and/or Anna Burleson and we’ll get it done quickly!
Naming files, pages and sites
File names, folder names and web addresses can all describe the “location” of a web resource in similar ways. Since web pages ARE files, just like images and documents, the same naming conventions apply. While it might seem like these names stay hidden in the background and are unimportant, both users and search engines scan them to help make sense of a website. Therefore they should be consistent, descriptive and easy to understand. All of this is based on research-based direct recommendations from Google.
- Separate words in the Site Manager “Name” field with hyphens. This becomes the name of the web page file.
- Ex: /marketing-and-communications.html
- Separate words in uploaded file names (images, documents, etc) also with hyphens.
- Ex: /image-of-campus-early-morning.jpg
- Ex: /student-release-form.pdf
- Separate words in the “Title” field with spaces. This becomes the title users see in the browser tab.
- Make your title, page and file names as descriptive as possible. Spell it out with hyphens.
- Ex: /college-of-advanced-marketing.html
- NOT: /coam.html
- Make “Name” and “Title” fields in the Site Manager dashboard and “Page Title” in the page template all match, if not exactly, then as close as possible. The page title entered in the template is displayed at the top of the page.
- Use underscores, spaces or capital letters to separate words in the Site Manager “Name” field.
- Ex: /marketing and communications.html
- Ex: /MarketingAndCommunications.html
- Use underscores, spaces or capital letters to separate words in file names.
- Ex: /image_of_campus Early_Morning.jpg
- Ex: /StudentRelease form.pdf
- Use abbreviations, acronyms or initials as page titles if possible. Their meaning is not always clear to users.
- Ex: https://www.weber.edu/SocNurStu.html
While you should be trained/prepared to make basic text updates to your site yourself, please reach out about major changes, or even just tasks you can’t figure out in Site Manager.
Anna Burleson, web content manager
Dave Brogan, web developer