Don’t you just love that headline?

Sadly, I’m no copywriter, and I have to give credit where credit is due. I just read this post from the folks at Navigation Arts and felt compelled to share. And while we aren’t a “corporation” per se, universities certainly have their bureaucratic qualities.

So often the web communications team gets questions on how we make decisions on what gets shown on our university homepage. With so many things going on at Loyola, it helps to have a few guiding principles–I’m including a few taken from the article I’ve linked to above–but the main one is to to be sympathetic to our audience. As hard as it is to hear, your website should be about the audience you’re serving, not about you. This is particularly relevant in Loyola’s case.

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Spotlights are promotional features that web content managers create to showcase and guide users toward pieces of related content. The related content may live on web pages on your website. It may also be content that lives on other websites. Spotlights don’t necessarily have to direct users to content within your website, but it is recommended to encourage visitors to explore deeper layers and commit visitors to staying longer on the site. Loyola University New Orleans offers several ways to spotlight your content through video, features, news stories, fast facts, quotes, photos with captions, and link lists.

Using spotlights effectively

Spotlights are made to be updated and changed frequently and easily. Users won’t keep coming back for information unless they see information that’s up to date and regularly changed out. The Office of Web Communications built spotlights with web content managers in mind, so that content managers could easily add graphics onto a web page without the need to request work from the Office of Web Communications each and every time.

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Update: View our screencast on formatting copy for the web.

If you’ve ever published copy on the web, you may have run into some formatting issues. That is, you expected the copy to display a certain way, but when you saved your work and checked the web page, the text looked a little off, or some unusual characters had sneaked in there.

Here is a common example from Pack Chat, Loyola’s student blog. After publishing a new post, this is what the page should have looked like:

Blog post after formatting

However, this is what the page looked like initially:

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In the past year, loyno.edu has received more than 11.5 million hits, with the average visitor browsing the site for almost 19 minutes at a time. Take away all the local traffic (people visiting the site while on campus), and loyno.edu received attention from 777,000 different people around the world in the past 12 months, each of them spending an average of 21 minutes on the site.

I emphasize those visitors not on campus (think prospective students from out-of-state and abroad) because for many of them loyno.edu is their first and only impression of Loyola University New Orleans. Our primary goal here in the Office of Web Communications is to make that impression as good and as memorable as it can possibly be. After all, if someone in that demographic is dissatisfied with the university’s web presence they are unlikely to form a positive opinion of Loyola as a whole.

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You’ve surely heard of Twitter by now. It’s the microblogging service that has hooked everyone from actors to sports stars to Iranians. The concept of Twitter is simple, but its multitude of uses may make it seem confusing. Here we present an introduction to Twitter to help you get started.

What is Twitter?

Twitter describes itself like so:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

That definition has become a little simplistic as Twitter has evolved and its audience expanded. I would liken Twitter to text messaging (SMS), except each message is broadcast to the world (a very important distinction, as noted by David Zemmels). Other users can “follow” you to make sure they receive those messages.

You can post and read messages on Twitter via your computer or cell phone. Even non-smart phones can receive SMS updates.

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SlideShowPro Director allows you to manage photos for a slideshow the Web Team has set up for you. You will have received a username and password so you can access ssp.loyno.edu. When you first log in to SSP Director, you can change your password by clicking your e-mail address at the top right of the page.

When you are logged in and ready to manage your slideshow, follow these steps:

Step 1: Find your album

Click the Albums tab at the top of the page, then find your album in the list. If the list is quite long, use the search box at the top to locate your album. Once you’ve found it, click the title.

You should now be on a page that looks like this:

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Mass Comments is the blog of Loyola’s School of Mass Communication, featuring the writings of selected faculty. Below are some instructions for submitting and editing posts on Mass Comments. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Web Team via webteam@loyno.edu.

Log In

Permitted bloggers can log in with their user name and password at the following URL:
http://blogs.loyno.edu/mass-comm/wp-admin/

Once logged in, you will see your dashboard. This gives you a quick summary of your activity on Mass Comments.

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Earlier this week I, along with Loyola’s Director of Web Communications Jacee Brown, gave a presentation to David Zemmels’ Web Design class in the School of Mass Communications. The title of the presentation was Building the new loyno.edu, and it focused on the planning, design and build of the new Loyola website, the homepage in particular.

The presentation can be viewed in QuickTime format online here. Click on each slide to advance. Be advised that it will probably take several minutes to load fully. If you wish to download the presentation, you can do so via this link. Just right click and choose save target as (PC) or save link as (Mac).

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Some changes have been made to the banner styling on loyno.edu. There are now three different ways to style a banner. See below for an explanation of each.

Default banner

For the default banner to appear, banner.css must be called from the head of the page, and the HTML constructed like so:


<div>
<h1><a href="/" title="Click here to return to the homepage">Loyola University New Orleans</a></h1>
</div>

Note: If an anchor is present within the h1 (as in the above code sample), the “Loyola University New Orleans” text in the banner becomes clickable.

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This post will show you how to style text and images on loyno.edu using Drupal. Note that this only applies to text and images which you can change via Drupal’s rich text editor, as shown below:

Styling text

Beyond the basic functions (e.g. bolding and italicizing), you can also style text in the following ways:

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