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 Is there outdated content?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!
Posted 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
Thursday, June 21, 2018
If you want your audience to find, read, and understand your web content, you need to present it in a way that makes it easy for them. That means using the right words and putting them in the right context. People come to your website to get information or to accomplish a task. They don’t come for a scavenger hunt or to read a novel.
With that in mind, here are the top 3 phrases you should eliminate from your web content.
Sometimes these phrases are difficult to work around. If you’re struggling, contact the Web Content team, and we’ll help you figure out solutions that better serve your content and your audience.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
By Jason Pope
The speakers! The networking! The cake!
There’s so much to love about the Confab Higher Ed content strategy conference we attended. But among my favorite things are the takeaways – those actionable tidbits that we can bring back and implement for the good of Liberty, our web users, and our websites.
But we can’t implement every takeaway alone; not even with the help of our awesome Web Content Team. We need you – the content contributors, the subject matter experts, the Web Manager users – to work with us.
Here are four conference session takeaways we can’t implement alone.
From "Make it fresh: Steering clear of the same old story" by Ravi Jain.
Ravi said that being in higher ed is like being in Groundhog Day, and he’s right. We post a lot of cyclical content – course information, faculty bios, announcements, and commencement schedules – just in time to go back to the beginning and start all over again. It can feel quite monotonous. But focusing on telling stories that reinforce who we are and what we believe at Liberty can breathe new life into our content.
How you can help: Be on the lookout for faculty, staff, and students in your department with a story to tell. Then, let us know!
Chances are, we’ve never heard of that student who landed an awesome internship or the faculty member who used her break to change the world. Share these stories with us so we can help share that message with the world via news articles, testimonials, or the We The Champions initiative.
From "Content in the age of personalization" by Matt McFadden.
With all the advanced web technology that can deliver personalized content and experiences, Matt went back to this core content principle as one of his closing “Four Big Things.” Keeping written content short, focused, and in a natural voice is foundational to connecting with your audience.
The Web Content Team can’t review every change before it’s published, so we need you, our Web Manager users, to help implement good content practices. We offer free tips on general web writing, user-focused writing, and improved voice and tone on our website. We’re also happy to meet with you for additional training and brainstorming. Help us catch long-form narrative and academic jargon early in the content process!
From "Solo content strategy: Lessons for lone rangers and tiny teams" by Malaika Carpenter.
A content strategy is basically a plan for how content can help meet your goals. But before the plan can be written, you have to know what your department’s goals are and document them.
How you can help: Share with us your department’s specific goals so we can create a plan for how to achieve them with content.
Our team creates strategies to help Liberty meet its overall goals, and we can do the same for your department’s individual goals. But first, we need to hear from you on what those are. Requests to “create an FAQ page,” “add more buttons,” or “add a welcome letter from the dean” can never be successful without an established goal and a plan to achieve it. Let’s get strategic!
From "Paving the way for web governance" by Georgy Cohen.
Knowing your department’s goals is one thing; understanding what your layers of leadership are prioritizing is quite another. True understanding takes communication and relationships. And only then will it become clear how the web can support those priorities.
How you can help: Be a bridge builder. Use your knowledge and relationships to help us understand your leadership’s priorities.
No one knows your department better than you do. No one understands your leadership’s priorities quite like you do. In order for us to support them, we need to understand them. Start by inviting the Web Content Team into the conversation, no matter how complicated. Let us work with you to understand, plan, and support. We can do it, but we need you!Posted at 12:20 PM | Permalink