University Marketing and Communications

How to build effective web pages

Why UToledo brand standards and website conventions are important

  • To avoid confusion. Put yourself in the place of a prospective student or parent. They explore our website to find out who we are or what major they might want to pursue. If every college and department has a different look and feel, it’s disorienting. We want them to feel that they’re on one website — the UToledo website.

That’s why we all follow UToledo brand standards — using the same colors, fonts and menus. The same tone and voice in our copy. The brand was built to reflect UToledo’s spirit and mission. We want our webpages to reflect that, from the design to the content.

  • To help future web editors. You may not be around forever. If you’re following our standards consistently, your successor’s job will be a whole lot easier.

Creating Content

  • Know your audience It may be current students or faculty and staff. But for most of you, it’s prospective students and their families. Where do they look for information? Your website. It’s your best marketing tool. What do they most want — or need — to know?
  • Less is more. Answer their questions in short, easily digestible language.
  • Mobile first. Fewer young people are using computers. Be phone-friendly. Who wants to scroll endlessly?
  • Speak their language. Forget the jargon. Our new brand guides call for us to write in a more conversational tone.
    • INSTEAD OF:  Students enjoy a host of restaurant options at The University of Toledo.

WRITE: You’ll enjoy pizza, sushi and an endless buffet at our on-campus dining halls.

  • Tell your story. Our UToledo brand emphasizes story telling. While we would like all of the University’s web pages to have a consistent look and tone, you do have latitude in telling your story.
    • Tout the things that make you different. How does your department or college stand out?
    • Seek out student and faculty testimonials. Short quotes and nice photos are a great way to connect with your audience.
    • Keep the brand attributes in mind as you write content. Reinforce them when and where you can. 

 Designing pages 

  • Scannable. Nobody reads a page word by word. Use subheds, bullets, lists and other tools to break up your page. Write short sentences.
  • Simple. The fewer distractions the better.
    • More white space.
    • Fewer columns.
    • One topic per page. This can be a toughie when we have so much info to impart and we want to eliminate pages. So do the best you can. Keep in mind that it’s easier for Google to send people your way when they know exactly what your page is about.
  • Visually appealing.
    • Photos are important and reinforce our brand. They tell stories and also break up copy-heavy pages. The UToledo brand guide offers tips on brand-appropriate photos.
    • Snippets. Use our preset snippets of code in Omni to build design elements on your page -- 3-column format, bars of color, etc.

Web Dos and Don’ts

  • DO use our web page templates. Custom coding on a page may be appropriate. But if possible, use templates. It makes it much easier to update when changes need to be made to the whole website (ie. updating the look for the brand rollout).
  • DO delete pages. As you winnow down pages, you’ll be forced to think more strategically about what information is most helpful to your audience. Your pages will be more highly ranked by Google. And it will make updating your site easier.
  • DON’T use PDFs if you can avoid them. They’re not phone-friendly. We often forget to update them. And it’s hard to optimize them so Google can find them.
  • DON’T have a linked page open in a new window. No one wants their browser littered with tabs. And it’s a horrid experience on a phone.
Last Updated: 6/2/20