Web Tips

If you work with web content on umaryland.edu, review the following web tips. We hope to improve UMB's web presence by discussing web tips, tricks, and best practices.

Do you have feedback about our Web Tips, or a suggestion for a future tip? Let us know! 

Browse our Web Tips archive

The UMB Website Manual

The UMB Website Manual, available at umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/, is a helpful repository of everything you need to know to work on umaryland.edu in T4 SiteManager.

Read up on best practices for web writing at umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/.

View a listing of available content types at umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/getting-started/content-types/.

Discuss issues and ask questions in the UMB Web Forum, available at umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/web-forum/.

Accessibility

Accessibility is important! Website accessibility means that users with disabilities or other considerations have equal access and equal opportunity to browse your UMB website. University web policy requires web pages and websites to be accessible.

The UMB Website Manual contains general guidelines on accessibility, as well as more detailed instructions and tutorials at umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/. Check out our instructions for creating accessible documents: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/creating-accessible-documents/.

Video Gallery and Social Media Icons

New content types are available! Organize a playlist of YouTube or Vimeo videos in a gallery with the Video Gallery content type:
umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/getting-started/content-types/video-gallery/

Link to social media accounts with Social Media Icons:
umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/getting-started/content-types/social-media-icons/

Writing Alt Text

All images on the website should have appropriate alt text. Screen readers will read this text aloud to visually impaired users.

Alt text should succinctly describe the content conveyed by the image. Avoid making alt text too verbose, but also make sure to sufficiently describe more complex subjects. Avoid unnecessary text such as "image of." Whenever possible, alt text should communicate all of the same information as the image. Never use the image's filename or any other generic nondescriptive text as alternate text.

Read more about accessibility on the UMB Website Manual: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/.

Create Accessible Documents

Accessibility standards apply to documents as well as to web pages! Make sure your documents are properly marked with accessible tags, and all images in your documents have appropriate alternative text.

Read more about creating accessible documents in the UMB Website Manual: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/creating-accessible-documents/.

Read more about accessibility in the UMB Website Manual: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/.

T4 Section Links

Use T4 Section Links to prevent broken links. When you want to link to another page on the same website, select the Insert Section Link button and then select the appropriate page from the site structure. If that page is moved or renamed in the future, your link will be automatically updated. That’s the benefit of using T4 Section Links!

Read more about T4’s text editor: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/getting-started/text-editor/.

Write Representative Link Text

Links are an important part of SEO, even links within our own site. Always use link text that is representative of the content being linked to. Avoid uninformative or generic link text such as “click here.”

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of making web pages more visible to search engines and improving their rankings in search results. Follow SEO best practices to make your web pages easier for visitors to find from our own site’s search bar, as well as from external search websites such as Google or Bing.

Look forward to more tips and useful information to help improve your site's SEO in the coming weeks. If you're interested in reading more on your own, we recommend reading Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

Keywords and SEO

If you want your web content to rank highly in search results for a certain keyword, it is important to use that keyword prominently in titles and text on your web page(s). Avoid uncommon terms if there are more commonly-used terms available. For example, don’t write about “food cooling units” when your audience is more likely to be searching for “refrigerators.”

Most importantly, don’t abuse or overuse keywords. Use them naturally and strategically. Remember, design for visitors, not search engines.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

SEO and Accessibility Go Hand-In-Hand

Keep in mind that text that is embedded in images, video, audio, or plugins cannot be indexed by search engines. It also cannot be read by screen readers for the visually impaired. Following proper accessibility standards has the added benefit of making your content more visible in search results.

Read more about our accessibility guidelines in the UMB Website Manual: umaryland.edu/cpa/toolbox/website-manual/prepare/accessibility/.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

Get People Talking About Your Web Content

Search engines measure the relevance and importance of web content by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. Search engines treat links from outside sources (especially sites that are considered trustworthy or authoritative) to your web content as votes for your content’s popularity and importance. Market your content! Contact the Office of Communications and Public Affairs to discuss marketing possibilities.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.

Avoid Duplicate Content

Search engines are picky about duplicate content. If duplicate versions of a page appear on two or more different URLs, that content will rank lower in search results.

Avoid using the mirroring function in T4. If you have content that you think should appear in multiple places in the website, we recommend you choose one place to be the content’s primary home and simply add links to the content in the other places.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

Consider Your Audience

One of the most important elements of Search Engine Optimization is empathy for your audience. Ask yourself what visitors to your site would be looking for, and make sure your content delivers it to them. Create useful, information-rich content and produce fresh content regularly where applicable. Build your content primarily for visitors, not for search engines.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.

Page Titles and Navigation

Consider the hierarchy of your pages from a visitor’s perspective. Is it clear and easy to navigate from page to page? Can a visitor easily and accurately predict what sort of content is on each page from the page title alone? Page titles are often a good place to incorporate the most important keywords for your page. The closer to the start of the title your keywords are, the more helpful they'll be for search ranking. Search results generally only display the first 65-75 characters of the page title, so it’s advisable to keep the title’s length below that limit.

Read more about Search Engine Optimization in Mozilla's Beginner's Guide to SEO at moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/.