Annual Website Checklist

A guide to help you navigate website management and strategy

Welcome

Thank you for visiting the Annual Website Checklist page! This page is intended to offer ArtSci website managers recommended guidelines and best practices to help ease website management, strategy, and maintenance. Below, please find the Annual Website Checklist, which breaks down updating your website on a weekly, monthly, and semesterly basis. Following that is a section on website strategy, which is intended as a guide to use when working with your department chair, communications committee, or other colleagues as you determine how to leverage your website as a communications tool. Finally, the Frequently Asked Questions section is a complilation of the most commonly asked questions from the Spring 2021 website training sessions. Because these questions came from, you, our website managers, we thought it was a good idea to share them because it's likley more than one website manager has a similar question.  Please note that the FAQs below will be updated on an annual basis following these training sessions to reflect those most common inquiries from website managers.

If you have questions pertaining to the technical management of the website (how to work on the back-end of your site) please be sure to visit this comprehensive ArtSci Website Guide. It is full of very detailed information on the technical side of how to maintain your website. 

Download Your Copy

Need a copy of the Annual Website Checklist to keep with you? Download a printable version of the checklist.

Annual Website Checklist

Please use the below checklist as recomendations to assist you in managing your Arts & Sciences departmental website. 

Weekly Updates

  • Add new events or news articles as needed and update the homepage to reflect those changes. Be sure to use thumbnail images!
  • Check the shared content feed and import pertinent news and events to your site. 
  • Remove any outdated events from the header slideshow. (Events that have passed will not automatically come down from the slideshow.)
  • Close RSVPs to webforms once an event has passed to reduce spam. 
  • Ensure dates are accurate (due dates, apply by dates, etc.).

Monthly Updates

  • Review Siteimprove to fix any misspellings, broken links, or accessibility issues. 

Updates in Between Semesters

  • Download web form data and clear it from web forms. (This makes managing the data easier for you and ensures you have a saved archive of all form submissions from the past.)
  • Email the web team with the names of anyone with a login to your website who has left your employment so that account can be disabled. (This is especially important in the case of student workers. We know you trust those people, and we do too, but it is a good practice to disable their logins when they no longer work for the department.)

Semesterly Updates

  • Ask all employees to send any updated information they would like included on their profiles.
  • When an employee leaves the department:
    • Ensure contact information onwebforms and "Contact Us" links isaccurate.
    • Sciences: Ensure all laboratory information is accurate and update if a faculty member has left the university.
    • Unpublish associated profile pages.
  • Add any new faculty books to the faculty bookshelf.
  • Mid-May: If the department doesn't have many upcoming events for summer, temporarily remove the upcoming events scroller section from the homepage.
  • Update all pages and forms with any departmental or programmatic name changes.

Summer Updates

  • ​​​​​​Refresh the "About the Department" text.
  • Update Undergraduate and Graduate Program pages.
    • Update major, minor, or graduate program requirements.
    • Update Career Outcome Data (percentages, internship titles, job titles, and graduate school placements) on the Undergraduate page with new three-year data set from the Career Center.
  • Review social media accounts; ensure they are still active and update them on the webpage accordingly.
  • July 1:Update "Our People."
    • Add new faculty members and schedule portrait sessions for them.
    • Unpublish retiring faculty members.
    • Update faculty titles.
    • Update the Department Chair.
    • Update "Director of Undergraduate Studies" and "Director of Graduate Studies" tags; update any associated URLs on corresponding pages.
    • Add new graduate students and unpublish alumni.
    • Update any other people tags. Work with the web team to change tags or develop new ones as needed.
  • Collect new graduate student and undergraduate student testimonials.
  • Work with your department chair to determine which courses to feature and add “Featured Courses" on the course landing page.
  • Review and update resource card information and links if they're incorrect or broken.

Summer Photography Updates

  • Contact Sean Garcia to schedule photo shoots of:
    • New faculty or graduate students
    • New lab spaces or facilities
  • Reach out to faculty members to gather candid photos of field work to use on the website throughout the year.

Website Strategy

Each year, it's a good idea to evaluate how your website is supporting your department’s strategic goals and to ensure it aligns with A&S's priority of leveraging the website as a tool to attract prospective students and faculty members. With that, work with your department chair, faculty members, and communications professionals to assess how the website works for you and your teams' goals. Websites are an excellent tool to use for recruiting, informing current students and providing them with resources, and elevating the great work your department does. Below are prompts to use to help you assess the value and direction of your website.

Target Audience

Who are your target audiences and what are the key characteristics of each? What do they like? How do they communicate? Use this information to illustrate to them why your department is where they need to be!

Selling Points

Work with your chair, DUS, and DGS to identify your department's selling points. What does your department do well? What research is your faculty conducting and why is that important? What are the unique opportunities your department offers undergraduates and graduate students? How do you stand apart from your competitors?

Calls to Action

Identify what you're asking your website user to do. Do you want them to apply for your program? Perhaps it's to register for an event or apply to a faculty position within your department? Identify what you want them to do and then be sure to create a clear and concise path for them to do that. Remember, you can ask your different target audiences to take different actions. This is not a one-size-fits all, but varies depending on those strategic goals.

Strategic Content

It's helpful to develop a strategic content calendar that aligns with important times throughout the academic year. Perhaps you want to feature certain content during the university’s yield time. Or maybe you want to pay tribute to your graduates near commencement to build alumni affinity to ensure they stay engaged with your department. Talk with your department leadership to align your content to drive strategic action in your website users.

Here's a quick guide:

August & September - Academic Year Begins

October - February - Largest Part of the Academic Year

March & April - Yield Season

April & May - Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a compiled list of questions most commonly asked during the spring 2021 web content training sessions. 

Q: How do I know who is visiting the website and what they’re looking at?

A: ArtSci Web & Communications uses Siteimprove to track and measure the usership of your website. Work with the web team to review the data if you need assistance navigating this robust analytics platform.

Q: I have a great story idea from my department, but don't feel comfortable writing it myself. Are there resources to help me?

A: Absolutely! The ArtSci Communications team has been restructured to support a group of editorial experts who can help you develop the story by providing you with resources or writing the story on behalf of your department. Reach out to Claire Gauen to pitch your idea. With the new team structure, the team can now take on more writing and diversify the content. Let's have a conversation!

Q: How do I determine what kind of content to import from other departments to share on my website?

A: The nature of Arts & Sciences is interdisciplinary, so it makes sense that you may want to share content that originated from other departments. That's why it's a good idea to have those strategic conversations. Get together with your department chair to determine how you want to highlight interdisciplinary stories and how that may impact your target audiences. ArtSci Communications is happy to discuss strategic tactics like this with you, too.

Q: How do I make sure my website is operating optimally?

A: Check your Siteimprove data, which will assist you in ensuring quality, accessibility, and SEO are running optimally.

Q: I have so much great information to share on my homepage, but there isn't room for this content. How can I create additional room on the homepage to feature it?

A: Remember, your homepage is just the teaser. Not everything you want to feature has to live on the homepage. Rather, the content you share on the homepage should be strategic and lead the user into the website to complete the Call to Action. Think of your homepage like a handshake. Make a good first impression so the user wants to get to know your department more by clicking through to secondary pages.

Q: I’m requesting a photo from a speaker. How do I communicate the kind of file they should send?

A: Please tell your guest to submit a high-quality JPG or PNG file that is no smaller than 1 megabyte and 300 dpi. This size of photo will have enough data so we can resize it to make it larger or smaller, depending on the application. It’s also a reasonable size to send via email. With this type of photo, we’ll have it readily on hand in case we want to use it in any print materials, which requires at least a 300 dpi photo.

Q: I’m new to website management and am not totally comfortable with my skill level yet. Is there a way to "play around" with creating content so it won't get reflected on the live site?

A: Yes! The best way to learn website management is by doing it. That's why each department has a staging site that can be used to practice before you create something on the live site. If you need assistance accessing your staging site, contact the ArtSci web team.

Contact

Have questions? Reach out to Arts & Sciences Content Strategist Jennifer Ferguson or the contact the Arts & Sciences web team.