Website Development

There are several website development options available. If your unit requires assistance developing or redesigning a website, contact Strategic Communications to discuss needs and for assistance identifying an appropriate solution.

University Supported Website Development

Strategic Communications and Information and Technology Services (ITS), offers services to assist campus units in the development of websites. We currently develop websites in two content management solutions (OU Campus and WordPress).

Overview of web development process:

  1. Survey department needs to determine which CMS and LSU theme to use
  2. Work with unit to identify website features and site architecture
  3. Strategic Communications will develop a layout proposal
  4. Site structure and layout will be coded by Strategic Communications and ITS
  5. Client will be trained in the CMS and migrate/create content

Units interested in learning more about the university’s in-house solutions, contact Lori Martin at 578-2031 or urelat1@lsu.edu.

Vendor Website Development

When units have a website project that is outside the scope of what the university-supported CMS provides, units will be given permission to contract with an external vendor for website development. Permission must be obtained from Strategic Communications prior to working with a vendor–the scope of services and requisition must be routed to Strategic Communications for review.

Vendors must adhere to LSU’s Brand Identity when developing sites for university units. Once a vendor begins developing the site, design proposals should be routed to Strategic Communications for review. A PDF mock-up or a URL of the beta site should be sent to approvals@lsu.edu with sufficient time remaining in the project timeline to accommodate any revisions that Strategic Communications may request.

Other Website Development Options

Some units may decide to use internal resources to design and develop a website (i.e., staff, students, additional compensation). Websites developed using internal resources must adhere to LSU’s Brand Identity. A PDF mock-up or a URL of the beta site should be sent to approvals@lsu.edu with sufficient time remaining in the project timeline to accommodate any change requests that this office may request.

LSU’s Brand Identity

A consistent identity is a vital part of our relationship with the public. Simple things like fonts, imagery and colors, when used consistently, make for a stronger brand and add to the public’s ability to identify LSU.

Some of the main gateways for people to the university are through social media and the LSU website. This places a great emphasis on ensuring that all online communications for the university have a cohesive look.

All online communications must adhere to LSU’s Brand Identity Guidelines.

Some basic branding elements to include are:

  • The LSU logo should appear in the masthead of every web page, see Logo Guidelines for colors and sizing requirement.
  • Official LSU colors should be prominently used in the design. If a neutral gray color palette is used for the site; either purple or gold should be incorporated into the color palette as an LSU identifier.
  • Website text should be presented in either black or dark gray on light background and links should be presented in bold face LSU purple (#461D7C). If a dark background is used for pages, links should be presented in bold face LSU gold (#FDD023).

Google Analytics

The university uses Google Analytics to obtain website metrics. In order for the metrics to be as accurate as possible, the university’s tracking code should be applied to all webpages built on lsu.edu. The code may also be added to some social networking dashboards so that traffic in between those resources and the LSU website can be monitored.

The following code should be applied to each department webpage. It is recommended that you place the code near the bottom of your HTML code, immediately preceding the tag if possible.

[note color="#e2e2de"]

<!– begin google tracking code –>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src=’” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
</script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-6754317-1″);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}</script>

<!– end google tracking code –>

[/note]

Units may request that Strategic Communications schedule monthly executive summary reports emailed directly to them. If you have questions or comments regarding Google Analytics, please contact Lori Kemp in the Division of Strategic Communications at 578-2031 or urelat1@lsu.edu.

Make Your Online Communications User Friendly

It’s important to structure your online communications in a thoughtful and consistent manner. By properly coding your webpages, reviewing and updating content on a regular schedule, and reinforcing the LSU brand you are helping to promote LSU as a trustworthy and reliable institution.

The following guidelines will assist you in developing your department’s online materials.

Identify the Content Provider

  • Each webpage or social media service must include the name of the department responsible for maintaining it.
  • The LSU logo should prominently appear on every page in a departmental website and, when possible, should be included in social media environments.
  • Each webpage or social media service should provide contact information in the form of a department email address that is monitored on a daily basis.

Provide Institutional Links and Email Addresses

  • All “official” university webpages must have a link to the lsu.edu homepage. An easy and effective way to do this is in the website footer. “Louisiana State University” should be included in your office contact information and can be used as a link to the LSU Homepage.
  • Each department may also be required to link to its administrative parent’s homepage (i.e., accounting services would provide a link to the Finance and Administrative services homepage.)
  • All pages must have a link to the website unit’s homepage so that users entering any page will be able to navigate to other portions of that unit’s website
  • When directing users to resources outside of lsu.edu, you may wish to alert users that they are leaving the LSU website. There are a number of ways to do this, the important thing is to be consistent in across your department's website so that users know what to expect each time they select this type of link. Here are some common methods:
    • formatting the link in a different way
    • providing verbiage on the actual link that tells the user they are leaving lsu.edu
    • providing an invasive pop-up window that alerts the user they are leaving
    • forcing the browser to open a new window or tab

Maintenance Schedule

  • It is recommended that units schedule regular website click-thrus. In most cases, a quarterly click-thru of all pages in the site is sufficient. When doing a site click-thru, the following procedures should be followed:
    • Click all links in the site, it may be helpful to break this down into several steps:
      1. all links in top nav
      2. all links in side nav
      3. all internal links in content pages
      4. all external links in content pages
      5. all links to documents or multimedia files
    • Look at the names of all departments referenced in the site and verify that office names, addresses and telephone numbers are still accurate
    • Look at all staff members referenced in the site, verify that staff names and titles are accurate
    • Look at all images used on the site; remove any images that are outdated
  • Make sure other units are linking to your site properly. Check LSU A-Z, to verify that your department name and URL are presented correctly in the index. Consider checking other units’ websites if there is a strong chance they have links to your site–for example, colleges and academic units are likely to “deep link” to each other's content.

Remove Old Webpages and Archive Content

  • If vanity URLs are used by your office, remember to contact ITS to have the URLs updated to point to new webpages.
  • The old website should be completely removed from a server. Updating vanity URLs to point to new webpages does not prevent individuals with old links or search engines from finding the old content.
  • All content should be archived offline on a local machine. Removing links from navigation is not the same as archiving or deleting a file. The only way to completely prevent a user or search engine from finding old pages or old files (HTML, PDF, DOC, PPT, JPG, GIF, etc.) is to delete the page from the server.