Best Web Practices
Improve Your Webpages with These Simple Guidelines
Take a look at our overview of some of the best web practices to improve your webpages. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. You can also view our blog for more information on creating great content.
Write Great Content
Here are some things to keep in mind when writing for the web:
Speak to your user. Use words like “you” instead of “the student.” Tell your user what actions they can take rather than explaining what you have to offer them. Make sure you use Liberty’s voice & tone guidelines. Keep your tone consistent.
Use keywords or phrases in important locations like:
- Page title
- Body copy
- File names of images and PDFs
- Alt text in image properties
Reduce Text by 75%
A good rule of thumb is to cut your original text in half and then in half again, leaving about 25% of your text. We know that web users will ignore large blocks of text because they are not easy to scan for information.
Make use of bullets in order to cut out unnecessary words and make the content easier to scan.
Use Headers Strategically
Every page should exactly one Heading 1 at the top of it. This is important because it gives your user an idea of what information they will find on this page. Search engines rank headings higher than regular text. Sub-headings can be used in a hierarchy (Heading 2 next, then Heading 3) under your Heading 1.
Headings can be selected by using the “Format” or “Normal” dropdown in the toolbar.
Add Helpful Links
Links are a great way to connect your users to the information they are looking for. When using links, here are a few things to remember:
- Users scan webpages looking for underlined linked text, which means that we should be linking whenever appropriate.
- Use descriptive text for links so that your users know where they should expect the link to take them.
- “Click here” should never be used as text for links because it requires your user to read the sentence in order to get the context of the link. It is also detrimental to user accessibility. For example:
Add Images to Enhance Your Webpage
Images are great for adding visual appeal to webpages and making content clearer to your users. When using images, make sure to pay attention to the following:
Make sure to size your image before uploading it to File Manager. Otherwise, this causes problems with the code and the responsiveness of your page in web, tablet, and mobile formats.
Do not add text to your image unless it is strictly for visual appeal and not content that your users need. This is important for search engine optimization and user accessibility.
Create a Simple Navigation
The navigation on your page is the set of links on the left-hand side of the page. These links help your user see what you have available and provide easy accessibility.
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating/planning your navigation:
- The navigation links are for assisting your users in accessing your collection of pages, so links to other departments (or resources, such as PDFs) should not be included here.
- If a page is listed/linked in navigation set, it should have that same navigation selected to display on that page. As a check, you should be able to click through every link in the set without the navigation links changing or disappearing.
- The number of links under each heading should be limited to 7. If there are more, your user will struggle to focus on any single item.
- You don’t have to include every page in your department in your navigation. You can also add strategic links to sub-pages within the content on your higher-level pages.
Add a Call to Action
Pages should have a clear “call to action” so your users know what to do next. Sometimes the call to action can be as a simple as having an email available for questions from users. At other times, it may take the form of a button on the page to RSVP for an event (if you decide to go with a button, the Web Content Team can assist you).
- Exceptions: Pages that are purely informational, such as policy pages.
Whatever the case may be, make sure that you’re allowing your users to respond to the content in an appropriate and helpful way.
Write Professional Bio Pages
Faculty/staff biography pages can be full of information that your users won’t want to read. It can be tricky navigating what should and shouldn’t be included. With our guidelines, you can make sure that all of your department’s biography pages are professional and easy for your users to scan.
- Read more about our guidelines to create professional bio pages