University Marketing and Communications
Fresnostate.edu — the front door to the university.
Each visitor comes to our site with a specific purpose in mind throughout their higher ed, decision-making journey. The better we recognize and understand this journey, the better we can provide our visitors with the right information at the right time. This builds trust, loyalty and credibility while also establishing strong relationships.
Campus web pages are at the forefront of representing and reflecting the university brand. They should be created with the same quality and branding standards as any university publication, presenting the university’s image in a unified and consistent manner.
Here are some practices to keep in mind when updating Fresno State web pages:
Write for your target audience, not the academics
Students and the greater community only spend seconds on our web pages. In order to grab their attention and deliver meaningful information, web copy should be clear, concise and conversational. Avoid higher ed jargon that alienates readers. Instead, use plain language and keep paragraphs short.
Keep it “above the fold”
Why should users care about your web page? What makes it important? The vast majority of websites explain their value to visitors high on their website (“above the fold”).Keep what you have to say concise and to-the-point, and say it early in the copy. Don’t make users scroll through paragraphs of content to find what they’re looking for.
Use timeless language
If you’re not sure how often someone updates your web content, this is especially important.
- Do: Engineering education first began at Fresno State in 1922.
- Don't: Engineering education started at Fresno State 96 years ago.
Use impactful visuals
An image should not be your entire message (e.g. a screenshot of a flyer — that’s not ideal to meet web accessibility requirements). However, your visual content should complement your message, using bold colors and conveying Fresno State’s key brand pillars. We recommend using photos taken by our university photographer.
It’s important to be as inclusive as possible in digital content — in the words we write and the photos we choose — while still being representative of our campus demographics. Research shows that when minorities see themselves represented at an institution (through its marketing efforts and curriculum), they’re more likely to succeed. Read Fresno State’s definition of diversity.
Track your analytics
Google Analytics provides us with useful information about who visits our website, how long they stay there and where they come from. Track it over time to see if there are any improvements or plateaus. This data can help you re-evaluate your digital content strategy. Learn more about how you can make data-driven decisions. Contact Technology Services to start using Google Analytics on your Fresno State web pages.
Technology Services provides web support, training, back-end programming, content assistance, accessibility and analytics for all Fresno State web pages. To learn more or to submit a work order, visit the Technology Services website.
Web accessibility ensures we are providing equal services and information to people of varying abilities, ages and backgrounds. Here are some tips to ensure Fresno State web pages are accessible and inclusive:
Always use alt text
Alt text is the text that appears when an image doesn’t load (it’s short for “alternative text”). It should be a brief description that conveys meaning and identifies the content in the image. Users who are visually-impaired rely on this text to understand what the image is. That’s why alt text is always essential. Please note: You should not use the phrases “image of … ” or “graphic of … ” to describe the image — it’s usually apparent to the user that it is an image.Learn more about alt text best practices.
Transcribe audio and video
Before posting a video or audio file, make sure to include a text transcript. Captions make videos accessible to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
Have a meaningful message hierarchy
When writing web copy, make sure page titles, headings and subheadings are short, meaningful descriptions of the content they represent. Good headings provide an outline of the content and make information easier to digest. They are also a way for users to navigate content.
- Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) as indicators of section headings and subheadings within a document. Screen readers may scan a page for appropriate H1, H2 and H3 elements. We recommend using H1 for the page title, H2 for major headings and H3 for major sub headings.
- Use the P paragraph tag to separate paragraphs instead of multiple breaks (e.g. BR BR ). (P = hitting “enter” or “return” on your keyboard to create a new paragraph. BR = hitting “shift” + “enter.”) Some screen readers are able to jump from P to P but not BR to BR.
Keep it up to date
The office might close at 5 p.m., but the internet doesn’t. Users are accessing the Fresno State website 24/7. It’s up to employees to ensure the content is up-to-date and relevant for those seeking out information.
Compress, compress, compress
Large image and document files can cause loading delays. Remember that some individuals may have slow internet connection if they’re located in a rural area or lack the financial resources to access high-speed internet. That’s why it’s important to compress your images before uploading them to the web. Here’s a free online image compression tool. If you are including a large downloadable Word doc or PDF file on your web page, include the file size in parenthesis. (e.g. Download the PDF (1 MB))
Stop saying “click here”
It’s considered a bad practice to say “click here,” since approximately 50% of recipients are reading your web content on their mobile phone (meaning they’re actually “tapping” instead of clicking). It’s also an accessibility violation. Instead, describe the action you’d like users to take with the link you provided. Here are some examples:
- Apply to the Renaissance Scholars Program
- Donate to Fresno State now
- Register for classes today
- Read more on fresnostatenews.com
- Visit the Alumni Association website
- Learn more about Fresno State faculty
- Take the magazine survey
- Download the Student Success Guide
- Watch Top Dog Videos