Building a New Website

Omni CMS is available for certain Michigan Tech websites including Tech Forward initiatives, academic departments, administrative departments, official research centers and institutes, and research initiatives/groups/units. All sites within Omni CMS are required to designate at least one web liaison to manage the daily maintenance of the site. At least one backup editor is recommended.

New websites are built in a test environment, within an ou- directory. This will allow the site to be published throughout the build process so stakeholders can preview and approve the site before going live. Sites within the ou- directory can only be accessed with the direct link and are not searchable.

Step 1: Request Site

To request a new website within Omni CMS, email cmshelp@mtu.edu the title of the site, desired URL, and designated web liaison. It is also helpful to provide any known timelines, such as the desired launch date. Liaisons who have not been trained in Omni CMS will be assigned CMS training within Canvas and a required accessibility training module, both of which must be completed before access to the site will be provided.

Step 2: Planning

Before beginning any work in the CMS, plan out your website.

  • Identify the needed pages including which pages would be beneath other pages and their importance to your audience.
  • Decide on the structure of your navigation, which should be based on your audience’s needs. All CMS sites are required to have navigation links.
  • Begin preparing the content—both text and photos—for the site’s homepage and other pages.
  • Text: when writing for the web, there are many considerations. Please see our Writing for the Web guidelines. 
  • Photo/video: we also have Photo/Image Guidelines for your reference and you can request access to UMC’s photo database (Cumulus) to search and download existing images.

Step 3: Contact Information

Add the contact information that appears in the footer of the site. At a minimum, all websites are required to have a linked department name and at least one form of contact.

Step 4: Site Structure

Create new Sections w/Page for each webpage within your navigation. First create each tab across the top navigation, going left to right. Then, in each of those sections create each subpage, top to bottom. Building the pages in this order and using the automatic “Add Navigation Item” option will create the desired navigation structure without having to manually edit the nav files.

  • The homepage file already exists within the ou-site.
  • Do not create “Home” links as this functionality is provided by the site title and breadcrumbs.

Once all sections are created, it can be helpful to request a full publish of all the blank pages by emailing cmshelp@mtu.edu. Doing so will let you view the structure of the site to make sure it is what you planned and provides structural context as you add content to each page.

Step 5: Content

After the structure is in place, go back to each page and add the desired content. Publish the pages as you go. See our Page Layout Recommendations for suggestions and ideas for page layouts.

  • Add a description and keywords to each page, including the homepage.
  • If there are pages that will not have content before going live, do not link these pages in the navigation. It is not good practice to have “Coming Soon” pages on a live website. New pages can always be added at any time.

Step 6: Internal Review

Once all content has been added and published, review the live ou- website. Stakeholders can also review the site at this point. Make any adjustments as needed.

Step 7: UMC Review

All sites must be reviewed by UMC before going live. Please allow at least one week for this review process (depending on website size) as we may request required edits for accessibility or standards compliance or provide feedback for improving your content.

Step 8: Launch

Once all reviews and edits have been completed we will schedule a launch date and then let you know when the site is live on that date. New websites will have a Send Feeback button in the lower-right corner for four weeks.