Category Archives: General Web

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.


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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New Headers and Footers

Today we’re launching our new headers and footers. For many years now, we’ve offered our headers and footers as iframe codes, which worked well, until our new template came along in 2016. The new brand brought in different dimensions, styling, and navigation. This caused us a bit of trouble as the new dimensions and functionality would not work with the iframe setup found across various Tech-associated properties. This led us to seek out a new, long-term approach for headers.

Problem

Iframes are an easy way to embed pieces of content from other websites. However, they are limited in their integration with subpages. Our main issue dealt with height: all iframes were locked at 100px high. Whereas the new header changes in height depending on navigation type, and if the header is loaded on a mobile device. The same issues were found on the footer as well; the footer iframes simply can’t show enough detail, leading to contact information and other relevant links being cut off.

Solution

Use JavaScript! The new headers and footers are built with JavaScript which solves the issues mentioned above. The new headers allow you to have our horizontal navigation found throughout Tech’s site; you can pull in navigation from the CMS or build your own. Customize the navigation font size, the header type (same as before: mini, logo-only, full), custom search location, and to follow Tech’s main template: fixed header to stick to the top. Footers ship with the default contact information for the university, but information from a CMS site or custom contact information can be fed in.

Get Your New Header/Footer

Integration

Set up your new header or footer starting here. Then, copy the HTML/JavaScript snippet into where the banner(s) should show on your page. If you used our iframes in the past, you can just replace the iframes with your new snippets. And that’s it! Nothing difficult, but now you have a header or footer that follows the same style and technical build of the CMS banners. If you have any questions, please feel free to email cmshelp@mtu.edu.


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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