All posts by Joel Vertin

Proper Content and Page Structure

The following tips are meant to help CMS liaisons with day-to-day maintenance of basic content on their websites.

Paste as Text

If you paste content from a document or email into OU Campus, you will likely get a bunch of bad code added behind the scenes that will effect how your webpage will look at function. To avoid issues, try clicking the “Paste as Text” button before pasting your content or use the Ctrl + Shift + V key combination.

Paste as Text shortcut
Paste as Text shortcut

The negative to pasting as text is that you will have to do some formatting manually (adding bold, adding links, etc). However, this will ensure that your website meets brand standards and works correctly on all devices.

Headings

It is important to use proper HTML headings instead of bold paragraphs or single lines of text. To apply a heading style to a line of text, put your cursor inside of the line of text and then select a heading level from the left-most dropdown menu in OU Campus. The same method working in other online applications, such as Google Docs.

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Writing Good ALT Tags

ALT tags (also known as Image Descriptions) are a very important feature involving all images on any given website. Moz does a good job of explaining what ALT tags are. Please take a moment to read up on what ALT tags are and why they are important. Moz also provides some tips for how to write good ones.

There are many uses for ALT tags. The most well-known ones are:

  1. Screen readers will speak the ALT tag of an image for users who cannot see
  2. If an image cannot be loaded due to some sort of network or IT error, the ALT tag will display instead
  3. ALT tags boost search engine rankings and can help your website’s images display in Google search results

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Google My Business

A free service called Google My Business lets small businesses update their search engine listing. This is particularly useful for Michigan Tech departments who focus on sales, who run promotions, who have distinct hours of operations, and/or which attract and serve tourists.

Customizable Content

Google My Business lets you customize various aspects of your business information in Google search results, including:

  • Address
  • Hours of Operation, including special hours for holidays
  • Phone number(s)
  • Photos of your business (inside and outside)
  • Promotions/Sales
  • Website

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Website and Content Backups

There has been some confusion over what our CMS does and does not back up as a part of its revision process, so the purpose of this blog post is to clarify things. This information is accurate for both Percussion Rhythmyx and OU Campus.

Content Backups

Enterprise Content Management Systems store pieces of content. You have a Generic Page which stores the meat of your webpage’s content. However, there is more. Think of a sidebars and sliders (Highlights). Images. And navigation—made up of Navons. There are also Files. Maybe some Script items or Personnel Information items. All told, any given webpage is made up of 50-100 total individual items.

Any CMS does a good job of keeping track of revisions for these items. Each revision is basically a backup of that individual piece of content. As long as an item is not deleted (purged), we will have a history for that item. If the item is deleted, then its revision history is also deleted.

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Posting Events to the University Calendar

There are two ways to post events to our Events Calendar:

General Campus Community

Calendar Admins

  1. Login to the calendar using the link in the header.
  2. Once logged in, click the “Calendar Admin” shortcut in the header.
  3. Click the “Add an Event” button in the Events menu.

Please note that calendar admins have access to additional fields that do not exist on the public event submission webpage and skip the approval queue.

If you are a calendar admin, please use the event submission form available through your Admin login, as specified above. If you do not have admin access, but often add events for your department, please request access by sending your name, user ID, and department(s) to webcal@mtu.edu.

Tips for Posting an Event

The following is a step-by-step guide for filling out your event information:
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Events Calendar Management

Our new Events Calendar has been a huge success so far, with over 43,000 views in the past month, representing an 85% increase in calendar use compared to last year. We have learned a few things along the way and want to explain a few changes that we have made, along with some best practices, and new features.

The Problem

Consider the following scenario:

  • Career Services adds Career Fair to the calendar
  • Many different departments want to put this event on their calendar as it is a very popular event
    • Some departments use the Contact Us form to have the event properly added to their own department’s calendar
    • Some departments duplicate the event onto their calendar
  • We end up with 7 copies of the same event floating around in the system, causing user confusion
  • The original event now appears to involve several departments instead of only the originator (in this case, Career Services)

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily, we have made some adjustments and have developed some ‘best practices‘ to alleviate this common issue.
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Please Attribute Sources to Migrated Content in Blogs

Attention web liaisons: if you copy existing content into your department’s blog from a web page or another source, please ensure that you have given credit to the author(s) by adding a byline. This policy applies to content that is authored by any member of the campus community (except for Tech Today), including individuals within your department, not only content that originates outside of the University. Plagiarism charges may be filed if credit is not given where it is due.

Thank you.

– UMC Web Team

Note: This was originally posted on October 4th, 2012.


Using Giving Codes

Your CMS website may contain a section listing giving opportunities within your department. Using specific giving codes entwined with the “Make a Gift” links on your website is a great way to encourage your website users (such as students, alumni, or others) to give donations to your department. Instead of simply providing links to the Office of Development’s online giving form, you can provide links that attach codes indicating specific giving designations (giving codes). This will pre-fill the giving form with specific account number and gift designations and will help ensure that donations are directed to the appropriate funds. A great example is the Giving Opportunities webpage of the  School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science website. Each giving link is for a specific giving fund.

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