Friday, April 12, 2019
Thursday, January 31, 2019
When it comes to your web pages, creating a journey that makes sense to your users is always the best way to go. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of wanting to make things “shinier” by adding some “pizzazz” with puffed up words or colorful graphics that we think might draw in users and make them want to jump at our call to action.
But the truth is, most of your website users are on your pages to accomplish a specific task. Maybe they want to know what your hours are, what your degree is all about, or what kind of support you offer. And when they can’t easily find what they are looking for, they’re gone.
And that’s when you lose them.
Ginny Reddish, author of “Letting Go of the Words,” puts it this way:
“When people come to your web site to start a conversation with you, they have a topic or question in mind. They are looking for the words they have in their minds – words that give them confidence that if they click there, they’ll get closer to the information they are seeking.
“To make connections between what your site visitors want and the content you have, you must use their words – not cute, made-up names that they do not know. Cute doesn’t work if it doesn’t help your site visitors know where to click (p. 45).”
Creating a clear and simple path for your users is key to keeping them on your pages.
You probably already know that your website is the best marketing tool you have. With approximately 80% of high school juniors and seniors looking for colleges online* and an average of 150,000 daily users on Liberty’s sites, it’s pretty clear that your content has value.
Because you’ve read through our blog posts, you know that there are a lot of things to think about when you work on your current pages or create new ones. Some of 2018’s highlights covered the benefits of:
And you already know that adding blocks of text to your page without considering user experience can negatively affect your goals when you consider the value and weight that your website carries.
So, if you still think that adding some theme-based, flowery content to your site might be just the thing to spruce it up a bit, take a step back and remember your audience. You’ve got easily distracted users living in a fast-paced world, and many are accessing your site on their phones.
And they want their information now.
Accomplish your goals by keeping things plain, simple, and understandable to all.
Still have questions about losing the “whizbang”? Contact the Web Content Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you.
Web Content Specialist — LU Web Content Team
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
I’m sure by now you have heard rumors floating around campus about some “new web thing” called WordPress. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what WordPress actually is. Here, you’ll find out how you can prepare your site for the transition from Web Manager to WordPress and get some tips on what to expect during the transition.
WordPress is a free, easy to use Content Management System (CMS) that comes in two variations: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The “.com” version of the tool is a stripped down, basic version of WordPress that is primarily used for blogging sites. The “.org” version is a hosted solution that offers a wide array of customization options. Wordpress.org is used for major websites across the web that range from online storefronts, news sites, and higher education websites.
Although Web Manager has served us well over the years, it has presented several problems for users trying to edit their pages. It also lacks some important features that come standard in most of today’s CMS tools. Instead of rebuilding Web Manager (which was built in-house here at Liberty), the web team decided to move to a more globally utilized tool that handles everything that today’s web trends demand. WordPress is more secure, has more features, and works great on mobile devices.
In preparation for our move from Web Manager to WordPress, there are some things you can do to get your pages ready. The first thing we suggest you do is to conduct an audit of your website. We spoke about this in greater detail in our last blog post, but it is a good concept to reiterate here. Take some time and go through all of your pages. Is there outdated content? Can some things be deleted? Part of this process is to ensure that your pages are accurate and free from any ROT content. Completing this step will give us a clean and easy to transition site (which means a quicker move to WordPress for you!).
So now that your site is accurate and ready to go, your next question is most likely going to be, “When do we get to move to WordPress?” Academic departments are going to be the first departments to move to WordPress. When your department is ready to be moved, our team will work with IT Development to transition your existing content and make sure everything works and looks great. Before the site goes live, we will set up a training time with you and your department’s users so all of you can get some hands-on experience with your new site.
Moving to WordPress over the next calendar year will bring lots of opportunities to improve both the user and editor experience. And since WordPress is such a popular CMS, there are tons of tutorials, tips, and tricks available on the web. Let us know if you have any additional questions about WordPress … we are here to help!
Postedby Justin Brooks at 9:42 AM | Permalink
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
In our last blog post, you learned about user journey. One thing that can really help your user journey and overall site is a content audit.
After you audit your content, you’ll likely have fewer pages and fewer links, for easier content maintenance. Or, you may find that you are missing content and need to add pages.
Taking stock of what you have and what you need will help you create a better user journey. And, now that you have eliminated unnecessary information, your users can focus on the content that matters.
1. Take a look at how many pages you actually have.
For a list of every page within your department, click “Open Page” in Web Manager 2.0.
Now you can see every page (PID and Page Title) within your department. To open one, double-click the page you wish to open. Or, you can highlight one by clicking on it once and then click “Edit Page.”
For an easy way to keep track of your page edits and notes, you can click “Printable List” and copy and paste the information into an Excel sheet.
2. Go through each page, removing anything that is:
3. Look for long paragraphs and see if you can simplify it down to a couple of sentences. Or, better yet, bullet points.
Use headers to separate your information into manageable portions. Users will scan headers to see if the content beneath will contain the information they need.
Use keywords in your headers to help your users find what they need quickly.
4. You can often remove the first half of a sentence and begin with the verb.
5. Anytime you see “student,” see if you can change it to “you.”
Change the information around it to match. This updates the entire information to be conversational and web-friendly.
Remember, on the web we are you-focused. Write your content as if you are talking to someone, using you, your, you’ll, etc.
Last, but not least, reach out to us in Web Content! We would love to help you improve your site.
Web Content Associate
Friday, August 17, 2018
You've created your pages, set-up your navigation, added header images, and double-checked all your links. Your page is live and ready for all the world to see.
But have you considered your user's journey?
User journey is simply how a user navigates to and interacts with a particular webpage or set of webpages. By understanding your user journey, you can gain insight into your user's behaviors and determine how helpful, or confusing, your page's current layout may be.
Here's an example:
Let's imagine that one of the goals for the Visitors Center is to have prospective undergraduate students visit campus for a tour during the summer. They have an end-goal, so let's see how a user may get from Point A to Point B.
The Visitors Center gave clear, short descriptions of each of the types of tours they offer, as well as a button on a prominent part of their page allowing users to register for a tour. The visitor didn’t have to search for information or figure out how to register for a tour. It was all right there on the page for them to see.
Think like your user. Have someone who isn’t familiar with your pages try to complete different tasks and see how user-friendly your pages are.
So, what are your department’s goals? What do you want your users to do once they’re on your page?
Considering user journey and your department's goals for your pages will help inform the layout of your page's content, creating a better experience for your users.
Web Content Associate — LU Web Content Team