Southeast Missouri State University

Notice: Regarding Ownership of Content

Due to the increasingly high demand for web development at Southeast, the Office of Web Design & Support is required to focus primarily on design, structure, and usability when developing new websites. We are therefore unable to vet all content, links, and materials provided during the development process. For this reason it is vital that your department take the time to properly review and revise your content for grammatical, functional and factual accuracybefore submission to our office for development.

Developing a New Website

Once you have settled on the complete outline of the information your site will need to contain, you can begin the work of writing its content. This process is relatively straightforward. You have the general “skeleton” of your site and know, basically, what each page needs to contain. So then comes the grunt work of actually writing the text that you would like to see on each page.

It is a standing goal for Southeast’s Web presence to avoid any pages that are built but have no content; for example, pages that say things like “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon.” They are a frustration for users and do not reflect well on the University’s ability to manage and update its Web content.

In order to avoid pages like these, Web Design & Support will not begin building a department’s website until it has received content for every page of the site. “Content” here simply means the actual text, images and media that will be available on the final site.

For this reason it is important that the department write or edit and consolidate all of the content for the new website in RedDot. Given the amount of content that some departments need to post on their sites, it is acceptable to develop short paragraphs or other abbreviated pieces of content for certain pages on the site and then expand upon those after the site has been built; the important thing is to make sure that each page has a relevant piece of information for your visitors.

For ideas on typical pieces of information that users might expect from your site, please read our guide to composing your website.

Considerations

Below are some important things to consider while developing the content of your site.

File Organization

This is a very important step! As you write your site's content it is easiest to work in Word documents. Usually we recommend making a separate word document for each page, which makes it easy to keep content organized and reduces the amount of time needed to look around in one file for a relevant piece of information. Use the outline structure of your site as a guideline in how you organize your word documents, so that if you have several sections with a couple layers underneath your home page, each page that branches off into their own section would get a folder. Providing a comprehensive, well-developed outline is the best way to ensure your website is built in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. For example:

  • Main website folder
    • Home.doc
    • Section 1 Folder
      • Section 1 Main Page.doc
      • Section 1 page 2.doc
      • Section 1 page 3.doc
    • Section 2 Folder
      • Section 2 Main Page.doc
      • Section 2 page 2.doc
      • Section 2 page 3.doc
Style Guidelines

The University uses AP Style for the Web and other official publications. You can find an abridged style guide relevant to University units online. This guide includes information on how to use abbreviations, dates, official building names, personnel names, and many more terms. Please take a look to make sure that the copy you are writing is consistent with this established style.

Help with Your Message

If you’re not sure exactly how to pen each sentence, we can help. Tonya Wells, Assistant Director of Marketing & University Relations, is available to assist departments with writing and organizing information for their websites, providing they are making the transition into Open Text or are interested in updating a site in the Open Text system. Feel free to email her at twells@semo.edu to talk about how you might best communicate the information your users need.

Avoid Dated Information

Given the length of time it takes to build a site, there will usually need to be edits or updates made to the content of the new site between when it is submitted for construction and when Web Design & Support is finished building it. It is a good idea when writing your content to avoid pieces of date-specific information, as that can always be added after your new site is public.

Photographs

Portraits are required for faculty and staff profiles, but if a faculty or staff member does not wish to have their photograph online then Web Design & Support can use a placeholder image instead. To have portraits taken of faculty and staff members, or to schedule general photo shoots for the various pages of your site, you can contact Photographer Marcus Painton (mdpainton@semo.edu). He has access to professional camera equipment and can produce some excellent photographs of your staff and department in action. Photos are also desired (but not mandatory) on most other pages.

Upon Completion

Once you have completed gathering your content, please burn all of it onto a CD or save all of it onto a USB drive and send it via Campus Mail to:

Evan Starr
Marketing & University Relations
Wehking Alumni Center, MS 7300

Also, please send an email to epstarr@semo.edu letting us know that we should expect the information for your website shortly. Once we have received the content for your site, we will let you know and put it in our queue to build it. You’re ready for the next step.

Moving a Pre-Existing Website

Some departments are satisfied with the organization and information in the website they already have, they simply need help moving the information into the Open text system. If this is the case for your department, follow the steps below:

  1. Map an outline of your site as specified previously in Stage 1. Even if we are moving a pre-existing site into Open Text having the outline is a very valuable tool to help us understand the organization of your website and how we can reconstruct it in the Open Text system. email the outline to epstarr@semo.edu once it has been written.
  2. Burn your website HTML, image and media files to a CD or save them to a USB drive and send that to Brad Chamness at Mailstop 7350. Having all of the files in one place makes it easier to access the information when we are moving it over to the Open Text system.
  3. Once we have received the files we will let you know that we have them and put your site into the queue for construction. You’re ready for the next step.
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