Managing Content: Best Practices
This section of the Web site provides best practices for creating and updating content. Included are suggestions for making your pages optimized for Search and accessibility. Completing the Checklist prior to publishing content is strongly encouraged.
Maintaining current and up-to-date content
In order to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of your content, check your pages once a week! Identify one day every week that you can commit at least 30 minutes to checking your pages for:
- Outdated information
- Broken links
- Changes to policies, procedures
- Changes to contact information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, names, etc.
Triple-check your work
Pasting content into the CMS, by using keyboard Copy and Paste shortcuts, commonly results in spelling and grammatical distortion of the content. In addition, the content being pasted into the CMS may contain spelling errors and content that does not meet Web Style Guide standards. Therefore, please “triple-check” your content and refer to the Checklist.
Avoid lengthy paragraphs
Visitor looking for specific information often experience difficulty finding what they are looking for in long, hard to read paragraphs. Whenever possible, use bullet points and other types of lists, to organize and communicate your content effectively. Exceptions: Articles, press releases, general university information and policies and procedures.
URL changes: Notifying the CM Mailgroup and “email@example.com”
Changed url addresses are one symptom of ’dead’ links. The best way to make sure visitors have the best experience and find the information they need is to notify Content Managers of any changed URL addresses. It is then each content manager's responsibility to update URL addresses in their pages.
Links to documents
All links to documents such as PDF and Word documents should open in a new window. To prepare the visitor, name such links like this: “Application (pdf)” or “Application (doc)”
Link to pages, not URLs (if available)
Whenever possible, use the Page Tree option in Typo3 to create a links, NOT the "External URL" option.
Links to ‘dead’ links
Do not link to already ‘dead’ links. Check a link before linking to it.
Naming your links
Don’t use links like “Click here”. Use your keywords/keyphrases as the link itself. See the Do and Don’t below, for examples. Based on the examples below, someone searching for the “computer center” is more likely to receive relevant search results than if searching for the athletic office “Web site”.
"...use of the on-campus Computer Center at yearly rates"
"Information on giving to UM-Dearborn can be obtained from Institutional Advancement at 313-593-5130"
“Contact the U-M Athletic Office at 734-764-0247 or visit their website"
"The Office of the General Counsel is another excellent source of information: please visit their website"
Spell out the entire e-mail address. This improves communication with the user.
"...or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-764-0304."
"Please e-mail Cathy Staples, Director of Marketing, at email@example.com for assistance."
"If you do not have a UM-Dearborn uniqname, please email us for assistance."
Number of links
Try organizing your content so there is no more than 10 links in your Left Navigation (see images below).
Try to keep the names of the links in the Navigation to one line (see images below).
Repeating navigation on the page
Avoid repeating the navigation on your page. Think carefully of how you can organize your pages to avoid this.