Content Best Practices
Make Your Content 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 to this, the
important thing is to be consistent in across your departments website so that users
know what to expect each time they select this type of link. Here are some common
- 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
- It is recommended that units schedule regular website audits. In most cases, a quarterly
audit that includes a review of all pages in the site is sufficient. When doing a
site audit, the following procedures should be followed:
- Click all links in the site. If you encounter broken links or links that are redirected
to a new URL, update the links to point to new pages or remove references to content
that no longer exists. It may be helpful to break this down into several steps:
- all links in top nav
- all links in side nav
- all internal links in content pages
- all external links in content pages
- 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
- Click all links in the site. If you encounter broken links or links that are redirected to a new URL, update the links to point to new pages or remove references to content that no longer exists. It may be helpful to break this down into several steps:
- 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 others 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.
Contact the Office of Strategic Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org if you encounter any issues you are having difficulty resolving.