Standards: Updating Your Website
Loyola's website receives literally millions of visits each year. So even if you aren't looking at your department, college, or unit website everyday, someone out there is. Keep it updated!
A. How often should you update?
As often as possible. People will not come back to your website repeatedly to read the same text and view the same images over and over again. Give them new and interesting content regularly.
If you do update your site regularly, be sure that you don't just delete old content to make space for the new. Instead, archive the old content so it can still be discovered by new audiences and search engines.
A word of caution: Archiving outdated content may confuse or mislead readers. Consider adding a note to indicate what time period the information is relevant to, and a link to updated information if available.
C. Writing and Editing Web Pages
Content on university web pages should normally be concise, scannable, and objective. When converting print-based text into a web format, aim to reduce the number of words by about half.
- Websites have a global audience. Avoid ambiguous or culturally specific language; use international date and currency formats; and include country and area codes in telephone and fax numbers.
- Write short, descriptive page titles, headings, subheadings, and link titles. Use keywords in the page title (the <title> tag), headings and subheadings, the first paragraph under each heading, links in the body text, and in metadata. This helps your site to get better results in search engines, and makes pages easier to read.
- Ensure that content is current and accurate.
- Avoid overly long pages. Put important information first. Use the “inverted pyramid” structure: Begin with the conclusion or essential information, followed with important supporting information, and end by giving the background.
- Break text into short, scannable chunks. Use subheadings. Bullets or numbered lists can make information scannable, but keep lists short to ensure readability.
- Follow World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommended techniques to improve page accessibility and usability, e.g., using acronym and abbreviation tags. Visit www.w3c.org/wai/ for more information.
For answers to frequently asked questions, self-help tutorials, and news about web-related activities at Loyola University New Orleans, visit the Web Communications blog.
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