Author: Joel Vertin

CMS Content Search

Content managers may occasionally want to search for specific phrases within the content of their CMS website. To search your site for a specific phrase, follow these steps.

  1. Log into the CMS and select the search icon in the main toolbar
    Search icon
  2. Click on the Advanced dropdown menu
    Advanced menu
  3. Open the Type dropdown menu
    Type menu
  4. Select only the text-based files and/or assets options
    Type selection options
  5. Enter your search phrase in the Contains the Words textbox
    Search text field
  6. If you chose only the text-based files option, you can select a specific Location (folder) in the CMS to search within.
    Location selector
  7. Click the blue Apply button in the bottom right corner to see results.
    Results example
  8. To edit content, click on the blue Title link as outlined in the above example.

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Page or Site Redirects

Redirects are important when webpage URLs change on your website. There are many reasons why this could happen:

  1. your site’s root folder name may need to change because your department is going through a name change
  2. you may change the name of a folder or subfolder
  3. you may move a page, folder, or file
  4. you may delete a page, folder, or file

When any of these actions occur, it is important that a proper redirect is put into place. This ensures that the old URL continues to work for any users who find it or have it saved.

Redirects help preserve the search engine rankings that you have built up over time and shows search engines that you responsibly manage your website. A failure to place or request proper redirects can leave your users frustrated with 404 errors and can cause your search engine rankings to plummet, making it harder to find your website moving forward.

Placing or Requesting Redirects

If your website is in OU Campus, the UMC web team will manage redirects for you. All we need are two pieces of information:

  1. the old URL(s) (e.g.: https://www.mtu.edu/umc/services/web/)
  2. the new URL(s) (e.g.: https://www.mtu.edu/umc/services/digital/)

If you are deleting content, you may not have a new URL. However, we can still redirect that content to something relevant (at a minimum, your homepage).

Email cmshelp@mtu.edu with the redirect information and we will place your redirects for you.

If your website is not in OU Campus, you may still be able to request a redirect through Central IT. Email your website, old URL, and now URL to ithelp@mtu.edu and they will let you know what they are able to do.

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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.

Heading Order

Headings must follow a logical order to be compliant with web accessibility requirements. Your page’s title is automatically the H1 of the webpage. Any headings that you use should begin with H2. If you “nest” headings—in other words if you have a subheading of a heading—you should not skip heading levels. If you have an H2 and you want to follow it with with a subheading, use an H3. If you follow that with a subheading of “equal weight”—use an H3 again. A subhead of a subhead would be an H4. Once you are done with subheadings, you can return to the H2 level. For example:


Heading 2 Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquam lorem dignissim, ultricies lacus quis, venenatis lacus. Suspendisse vitae malesuada velit, ut ullamcorper sem. Sed ut dignissim tortor. Nullam eu lectus sapien. Cras at nulla nec nisl posuere elementum. Nam mi nibh, consequat vitae placerat non, blandit id est. Maecenas vitae massa et enim rhoncus pellentesque. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Heading 3 Subheading Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquam lorem dignissim, ultricies lacus quis, venenatis lacus. Suspendisse vitae malesuada velit, ut ullamcorper sem. Sed ut dignissim tortor. Nullam eu lectus sapien. Cras at nulla nec nisl posuere elementum. Nam mi nibh, consequat vitae placerat non, blandit id est. Maecenas vitae massa et enim rhoncus pellentesque. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Heading 3 Subheading Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquam lorem dignissim, ultricies lacus quis, venenatis lacus. Suspendisse vitae malesuada velit, ut ullamcorper sem. Sed ut dignissim tortor. Nullam eu lectus sapien. Cras at nulla nec nisl posuere elementum. Nam mi nibh, consequat vitae placerat non, blandit id est. Maecenas vitae massa et enim rhoncus pellentesque. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Heading 4 Subheading Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquam lorem dignissim, ultricies lacus quis, venenatis lacus. Suspendisse vitae malesuada velit, ut ullamcorper sem. Sed ut dignissim tortor. Nullam eu lectus sapien. Cras at nulla nec nisl posuere elementum. Nam mi nibh, consequat vitae placerat non, blandit id est. Maecenas vitae massa et enim rhoncus pellentesque. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Heading 2 Subheading Here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquam lorem dignissim, ultricies lacus quis, venenatis lacus. Suspendisse vitae malesuada velit, ut ullamcorper sem. Sed ut dignissim tortor. Nullam eu lectus sapien. Cras at nulla nec nisl posuere elementum. Nam mi nibh, consequat vitae placerat non, blandit id est. Maecenas vitae massa et enim rhoncus pellentesque. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.


You should not use headings to achieve visual-only results. For instance, if you have an announcement that you want to stand out, but which is not a heading for the content afterward—you should not use a heading. Always think of screen reader users when you are adding headings to your webpage.

Headings Inside of Right Sidebars and Sliders

When using a right sidebar or slider, please consider the title of the sidebar or slider to be an H2. Any headings that you add should begin with the H3 heading, because any content added would be considered a subheading of the title of the sidebar or slider.

Ordered / Unordered /Bulleted Lists

If you want to list items or links, with or without numbers, please use an unordered or ordered list. This helps screen readers used by those with disabilities and helps search engines understand your content. When creating an unordered or numbered list, you do not need to also include paragraph tags.

Correct Code

<ul class="none">
     <li>Bullet 1</li>
     <li>Bullet 2</li>
     <li>Bullet 3</li>
</ul>

Incorrect Code

<ul class="none">
     <li><p>Bullet 1</p></li>
     <li><p>Bullet 2</p></li>
     <li><p>Bullet 3</p></li>
</ul>

If you do not want to use bullets, you can add a class of “none” to your unordered list.

Correct Code

<ul class="none">
     <li>Shortcut/Link 1</li>
     <li>Shortcut/Link 2</li>
     <li>Shortcut/Link 3</li>
</ul>

Incorrect Code

<p>Shortcut/Link 1</p>
<p>Shortcut/Link 2</p>
<p>Shortcut/Link 3</p>

Use of ALL CAPS

We have systematically removed the use of ALL CAPS from our web design due to growing concerns that it is difficult to read. Please keep this in mind as you create headings on your websites. If you must use ALL CAPS, please do so sparingly.

Replace & with “and”

Do not use ampersands where they are not appropriate—spell out the word ‘and’ instead. This includes in headings, titles, and sentences. The official name of most departments and buildings do not include an ampersand. In addition to improving readability and professionalism, avoiding using “&” will also ensure that your webpage content is compatible with other technologies.

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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

Guidelines

We need to write meaningful Image Descriptions for any images that we put on our websites at Michigan Tech. Not only is it a legal requirement, but it is also the right thing to do. When writing ALT tags, please keep these guidelines in mind (borrowed from WebAIM):

  • Be accurate and equivalent in presenting the same content and function of the image.
  • Be succinct. This means the correct content (if there is content) and function (if there is a function) of the image should be presented as succinctly as is appropriate. Typically no more than a few words are necessary, though rarely a short sentence or two may be appropriate.
  • DO NOT use the phrases “image of …” or “graphic of …” to describe the image. It usually apparent to the user that it is an image. And if the image is conveying content, it is typically not necessary that the user know that it is an image that is conveying the content, as opposed to text. If the fact that an image is a photograph or illustration, etc. is important content, it may be useful to include this in alternative text.

Other tips include:

  • A good rule of thumb is to keep ALT text between 5 and 15 words
  • Do not worry about keywords or SEO. Just focus on describing what is in the photo. SEO should be considered a side benefit and not the goal for writing good ALTs.

Examples

Here are some good examples of Image Descriptions. Note the concept and/or function in each:

  1. Graduate student taking notes during a class lecture.
  2. Facilities Management staff member leading a safety inspection.
  3. Chemistry students in lab safety gear, testing vials of liquid.
  4. Aerial view of Michigan Tech’s campus.

Notes: In example #1, if it isn’t important that the student is a graduate student, you could simply say ‘Student’. For #2, if the user is already on the Facilities Management website, you could simply say “Staff member”. Same with #3; you could simply say “Students”. In #4, if it was important to mention that the campus was snowy in the photo (for instance if the website was about winter in the Keweenaw, you would say “Aerail view of Michigan Tech’s campus on a snowy winter day”.

CMS Use

In Michigan Tech’s OU Campus CMS, there are a couple places you may come across the need for Image Descriptions. The first is the “Description” field when you are inserting an image onto your page or in a snippet. The second is in the “Image Description” field of the MultiEdit Content screen for both pages and personnel items.

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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

You are able to make edits online and through the My Business app. Edits are fast and easy. Customized content shows up in the right sidebar of desktop Google search results. Results show towards the top of mobile Google search results.

Google My Business search results
Google My Business search results

Who Can Make Edits?

In order to make edits, you must either claim your business through Google or receive Admin access from the entity who has claimed your business for you. University Marketing and Communications has been strategically claiming businesses to protect them and to be able to share them with the appropriate managers across campus. If you would like access to your business through UMC, please email webmaster@mtu.edu.

Once you have access, you can log in online and review your business’s profile to make edits. If you have any questions about using the interface, please email webmaster@mtu.edu and we can set up some time to assist you.

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Posting Faculty, Staff, and Student Awards

Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and students win numerous awards each year. UMC has been asked to recommend a template for promoting award winners on departmental and academic websites.

Posting the Award

We recommend creating a new post on your WordPress blog. Follow these steps:

  1. Post Title: this should include the name of the award and the winner(s) if they are able to fit.
  2. Post Description: this is the information about the person, award, location, date, etc.
  3. Profile Link: if the award winner has a profile webpage on your CMS website, it is nice to link their name to that profile, so that readers can learn more about the person.
  4. Photo(s): these are optional. If you have a related photo, it would be great to use it. If you do not, you could opt to use the award winner’s portrait photo from your staff listing. Simply download the photo from the staff listing page and load it into WordPress.
  5. Category: we recommend adding an “Awards” category to your blog and selecting this category each time you post an award winner.
  6. Tags: we recommend tagging each award a “faculty,” “staff,” and/or “students” depending on who the award is going to.

Sample Award Posting

The following is a sample of what an award post may look like:


Joel Vertin recognized at Student Affairs Celebration

Joel Vertin
Joel Vertin

At the Student Affairs and Advancement celebration held on May 4, Joel Vertin received The Force award. The award recognizes people that go above and beyond to get the work done. The award is described as:

How does this person do it? The Force Award goes to a person, who somehow, someway, manages to get big things done no matter what kind of odds are stacked against them. The Force is strong with this one.

Mr. Vertin was nominated for the award by Bonnie Gorman, Dean of Students at Michigan Technological University.

Ian Repp, Director of University Marketing and Communications stated: “I have no idea how Joel gets so many websites finished each year. It is amazing.”

Mr. Vertin is the Digital Services Manager within University Marketing and Communications. He has managed the web team since 2012 and has been a part of UMC since 2010. He enjoys golfing, softball, and long walks on the beach.


Feeding your CMS Site

Once the award is posted to your departments blog, it should automatically feed into your homepage news widget (if you have one). If you do not have a news feed set up already, please email cmshelp@mtu.edu for assistance.

If you use an “Award” category in your blog, we can also create a special feed that is only of award winners. This may be useful if you have any internal webpages where an awards feed would make sense. If you would like a specific awards feed created, please email cmshelp@mtu.edu.

If you have any questions about posting awards, organizing them, or making them appear on your website, please let us know.

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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.

Webpage Backups

Enterprise Content Management Systems do not store webpage backups. If you want to see what a webpage looked like on January 12, 2012, you won’t be able to in an easy manner. That is because you would have to comb through the multiple individual content items that make up that particular webpage. What’s more is that you won’t be able to determine if any content items were deleted between January 12, 2012 and today. So, even if you combed through all the related content items that comprise a webpage, you still may not have an accurate picture of what it looked like on a specific date in the past.

Information Services provides short term webpage backups—typically 30 days—to guard against losing content in the event of server failure or other technical issues. This does not help with long-term history of your website, however.

Alternatives

Over the past ten years of using a CMS, we have found that it is very rare to need to reference a specific webpage backup from more than a week or two in the past. The web is constantly evolving and websites are meant to be living documents that change frequently. Clients who house important records on their website—such as the Registrar—develop internal processes to back up and keep records outside of their website.

The free online service Internet Archive: Wayback Machine is a great tool for looking at the history of webpages. It crawls various webpages across the Internet and takes and stores snapshots. It is limited in that it does not take snapshots daily or sometimes even monthly. It is a great place to start, though, if you need to find a general history of a particular webpage.

If you are concerned about backing up your web content for internal or even legal reasons, such as your policies and procedures or course requirements—and you do not have an internal process already in place—we recommend subscribing to a paid service that will automatically create webpage snapshots for you. The Internet Archive and other vendors have subscription services with different features and price points. If you are interested in subscribing to a paid backup service, contact cmshelp@mtu.edu and we can discuss your needs and budget.

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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:

  1. Name (Required): This is the title of your event. It should be descriptive, but not more than 7 words, if possible.
  2. Description: Describe what your event is about. Include information about who the event is for, where your event is located, and who is hosting the event in case someone copies your event information. Calendar Admins posting via their Admin login have access to add links and media sources.
  3. Start Date (Required): On which day does your event start? There are several ways you can enter a date: Oct 3, Otober 3, 10/3, “Next Friday,” “Tomorrow,” 10/4/19, etc. As you type, the date below the field will update accordingly.
  4. Start Time: At what time does your event start? You can type as little as 6p or 10a.
  5. End Time: At what time does your event end? You can type as little as 6p or 10a.
  6. Repeating: Use if your event is recurring (ie: daily for a week, monthly for the semester, etc).
  7. Click the “Add Above to Schedule” button to add the date to the event. You can add multiple dates by repeating from the Start Date.
  8. Event Place: Enter the venue where your event will take place. As you type your venue, you’ll see campus location options pre-populate. Select your venue from the list, so that you are linked to it unless the event takes place off campus.
  9. Room: Enter the room number for your event, if applicable.
  10. Address: This field will appear if you do not link to an Event Place. Adding an address will include a link to Google Maps for directions.
  11. Photo: You have the option to upload a photo of your choice. You could also “Choose from Photos” to select a generic campus image. Different image sizes are used in different places on the calendar.
    1. After saving your event, click on the pencil icon next to the image to edit it.
      Screen shot showing the pencil icon circled.
    2. Click the Adjust Cropping link in the upper right corner of the screen.
      Screen shot of the window with the Adjust Cropping link circled.
    3. Use the slider under each photo to change the zoom of the image and move the photo to the desired look.
  12. Photo Caption: Enter text that will be used as the caption for the photo.
  13. Event Type: You can select one or more event types from the dropdown menu. To select multiple types, simply select one, return the the menu and continue selecting others in any order. It is important to select relevant event types to make it easier for users to find your events.
  14.  Target Audience: Select one or more Audiences from the list in any order. Selecting relevant audiences is important to make it easier for users to find your events.
  15. Department: Selecting a Department will automatically add your event to that Department’s calendar. You can select one or more Departments from the list from those you have access to.
  16. Group: UMC only. Please leave this blank. Student Organizations must submit their events through Involvement Link and they will be automatically imported to the Events Calendar nightly.
  17. Host: Please indicate who the host of the event is, using free form text. It could be a department, a group, or a person. We recommend the name of the department, when possible.
  18. Contact Name: Include the name of a specific contact person if desired.
  19. Contact Email: Include the email for the contact person if desired.
  20. Contact Phone Number: Include the phone number for the contact person if desired.
  21. Ticket Cost: If your event requires tickets, please enter the cost. It can be a single dollar amount, a range, or a description such as “Youth: $5, Adults: $20”.
  22. Ticket URL: If users can order tickets online, please enter the URL to your ticketing website here.
  23. Eventbrite ID: If you have created an event in Eventbrite, you can enter the ID here.
  24. Keywords: These are hidden from users and can be used for common misspellings or custom widget selections.
  25. Tags: Calendar Admins only. Enter 3-7 keywords related to your event, to make it easier for users to find your event when they search and to group events.
  26. Twitter Hashtag: If a hashtag is associated with your event, such as #mtuwc for Winter Carnival, please enter your hashtag without the “#” symbol.
  27. Event Website: If you have a webpage or website that explains more about this specific event, enter the URL here.
  28. Vanity URL: Calendar Admins only. If you would like to advertise your event in print media, you can customize the URL by entering a keyword here.
  29. Sponsored: UMC only. Do not check.
  30. Allow User Feedback: Calendar Admins only. If you would like to allow reviews, leave this checked.
  31. Allow User Interest: Calendar Admins only. Unchecking this disables the “I’m Interested” and “Invite Friends” functionalities.
  32. Featured: UMC only. Do not change this.
  33. Visibility: UMC only. Leave set to “Public”.
  34. Exclude from Trending: UMC only. Do not check.

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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.

Field Changes

We added one new field, relabeled another, and added some tooltips.

Subscribing Departments

On the live website, we have relabeled the “Departments” field to be “Subscribing Departments” to better reflect what that field actually means. When you’re listed as a “Subscribing Department”, it only means that you’ve added the event to your department’s calendar. It does not mean you’re involved in the event. On the backend, there is no change. This change is to help users of the calendar website.

Host Field

We’ve added a “Host” field to better show who is the true/actual host. This field is freeform text, so you could put “Career Services”, “Kinesiology and Biological Sciences” or even “Dial Help” if the event is hosted by an entity off camps. This will help address interdisciplinary events in that multiple hosts can be listed. “Host” is a new custom field on the backend.

Host and Departments Fields
We’ve have added a “Host” field.
Host and Subscribing Departments
An example of the “Host” and “Subscribing Departments” fields on an event.

View live example

You can also add important details to the event description. For instance, if it is very important that a department is recognized for putting the event together, you are welcome to add this information to the description.

Best Practice: Adding Existing Events to your Calendar

In our example, Career Services would create the “Career Fair” event. It is understandable that many departments would want to add that event to their calendar as well. Rather than duplicating the event, please click on the event that you want added to your calendar, scroll to the bottom, and click the the “Contact Us” link.

Adding an Existing Event
You can ask UMC to add an existing event to your calendar.

The UMC Digital Services team will make sure that you are added as a Subscribing Department and we can avoid event duplication and the confusing user experience that it can cause.

Not sure if someone has already created an event? Do a quick search using the search box in the header. If an event exists, click on it, use the “Contact Us” link and ask UMC to add it to your calendar. If no event exists, you are free to make your own.

I understand that we will need to make more adjustments along the way, so if there are any questions, concerns or new ideas, you can contact Joel Vertin, Digital Services Manager, at jcvertin@mtu.edu.

Thanks for helping us make this a great services for all of campus and the community!

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