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 program 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.

As a campus community, we 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 web pages to reflect that, from the design to the content.

Creating Content

  • Know your audience It may be current students or faculty and staff. But for most web pages, 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 audiences are using computers. Be mobile and phone-friendly. 
  • Speak their language. Steer clear from jargon. The UToledo brand guide calls for 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 unique qualities that make your department and/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 subheads, 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. For more information regarding PDFs, please visit the How To Add Documents web toolkit page. 
  • DON’T have a linked page open in a new window. Enabling links to open within a new window can quickly litter a browser with tabs;  this creates an especially challenging and unfriendly user experience for audiences on mobile devices. 
Last Updated: 4/11/24