OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Writing for the Web

Plenty of attention is given to Web design, development and content management, but content is often overlooked. The content of any website is the most essential element in good online communications.

Fortunately, we have flexible templates in Drupal to solve many of the technical and design issues so you can spend more time developing the content. We offer the following guidelines to help organize your thinking:

Keep content fresh

Web users expect information on your site to be current. Having outdated content can do more harm to your online presence than not having a site at all. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can follow to keep your content fresh.

  • Audit and maintain your content regularly. Using a content management system is a great way to delegate maintenance tasks to various people in your organization.
  • Use blogs and news releases to add new content. You can create an RSS news feed in your Drupal site using XML. Or use one of the blog templates at blogs.oregonstate.edu.
  • Use social media tools to create new fresh content. Services like YouTube and Flickr create widgets that can be embedded into your website. Twitter and other tools also produce RSS feeds you can integrate with your site content. That way, when you update your social media site, it's reflected directly on your main Web page. RSS feeds are available at numerous locations throughout the oregonstate.edu domain, including news feeds from News and Research Communications and university social media sites.

Maintain consistent messaging

The Integrated Marketing Communications Plan provides a wealth of messaging resources to integrate with your Web content. By building on a foundation of consistent messaging, you can tap into the university’s overall communications strategy. Refer to the core messages and proof points for ways to integrate these elements into your Web content, particularly on your main home page and other key landing pages.

Create a content plan for your site

As with any communications effort, your website should contain a detailed plan. Map out how often you will audit and review your website; who will be responsible for which pages; how often updates will be made to news releases, calendars, blogs and social media sites; and how often hits, traffic and other Web metrics will be reviewed. Set goals and timelines, and review your plan regularly to adapt it to the ever-changing online landscape.

Contact Web Communications for advice and guidance on developing your Web communications strategy.