Web Publishing Guidelines & Requirements

Web Content Managers, (CMs) at Community College of Rhode Island are responsible for all content contained within the pages they publish. They are expected to follow the highest standards of quality, and comply with the college's general policies, Web Publishing Policies, and established print publication policies.

These guidelines and requirements are offered as a tool to help accomplish these goals.


  1. Make a site map before you begin.
    1. Make a list of all the pages you think you'll have on your site.
    2. Work out a hierarchy of pages and folders, (folders are also know as sub-directories).
    3. Lay them out using some form of organizational tool: scratch pad, index cards, outline, etc.
    4. Organize files into folders.
    5. Create a root folder for your department or organization containing sub-directories and files.

    An example, done in an outline format, might look like this:

    1. Department (root folder)
      1. index.htm (home page)
      2. about.htm
      3. faculty_staff.htm
      4. images (sub-directory folder)
        1. masthead.gif
        2. faculty_photo-01.jpg
        3. faculty_photo-02.jpg
        4. faculty_photo-03.jpg
        5. ccri_logo_small.gif
      5. forms (sub-directory folder)
        1. Club_sign-up.htm

    An example, done graphically, might look like this:

    image of website organizational chart

  2. Develop on the test server --Publish to the production server.
    1. Most CMs don't have access to the production server but, if you do...Never work directly on the production server. Pages need to be tested and previewed BEFORE publishing for the Whole Wide World to see.
  3. Keep file and folder names short, descriptive, no spaces, and all lower case.
    1. Some browsers and/or operating systems, cannot read capital letters correctly in URLs –very few can understand blank spaces.
    2. By using all lower case letters, you never have to remember WHICH words and/or letters you capitalized when communicating the URL to someone.
    3. Certain symbols, such as periods, ".", or slashes, "/", may not be used because these symbols have a very definite meaning to operating systems.
  4. Use "index" as your home page filename.
    1. Using "index.htm", "index.html", or "index.html" will allow you to leave it out when relaying your URL to others –index is the default home page location that CCRI web servers look for. This makes it easier for everyone.
  5. Keep design and directory structure simple.
    1. Decide on a navigation and page layout and stick with it throughout the site. Let your visitors focus on your information…not on trying to figure out how to get around.
  6. Don't create or use purposeless graphics.
    1. Graphics are necessary and helpful –but they also slow the "load time", (the time it takes for your pages to fully display in the browser window), of your pages. In most cases, visitors have come for information, not to look at images so keep them small –both in file size and display size—and give them a purpose: to inform, direct, link to another page, etc.

      If the point of the page is to display images, make small versions of the images, (thumbnails), which have a text caption telling the visitor how large the linked-to image is and that they should "click on thumbnail to view larger version".
  7. Maximize your home page.
    1. Don't waste valuable space on your home page displaying a mission statement, which visitors will read once then never need look at again. Place this type of content on another page, for instance: "About" or "Our Mission".
  8. Design a navigation scheme that's a web –not a series of dead ends.
    1. Allow visitors to reach all major pages on your site from ANY page on your site with no more than one or two clicks
    2. Don't lead visitors down "one-way, dead ends", requiring them to use the "Back" button on their browser to literally back out of where you've led them, page by page.
  9. Make hyperlinked text meaningful.
    1. Use the text to tell visitors something about where the link will bring them. For example:
      1. Bad: For information, click here .
      2. Better: For information on HTML, see Learning HTML .
      3. Best: See Learning HTML for information about HTML classes and tutorials.
  10. Design for accessibility.
    1. From The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
      1. Provide content that will convey the same information, regardless of which Software is being used to access Web content, (graphical browsers, text browsers, voice browsers, mobile phones, multimedia players, plug-ins, screen readers, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition software).
        1. Priority 1 Checkpoints
          1. All CCRI Web content developers must satisfy the "Priority 1 Checkpoints"from the W3C.
            1. (Note: The number designation of each Priority 1 Checkpoint refers to the checkpoint's place among all checkpoints, priorities 1, 2 and 3. Priorities 2 and 3 are not required but are recommended. See the complete list of checkpoints.)
  11. Design pages, which are viewable on Internet Explorer 7 and above, and Firefox 3.0 and above.
    1. There's no way around the fact that your pages will look different from browser to browser and between operating systems but they needn't look broken.
    2. For more information on designing "browser-independent" pages, see: http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/
    3. Above all, be sure that any variances between systems and/or browsers only affect the look of your pages. Design and graphics may be lost but information should never be lost. For example, if a visitor is using a text only browser or has the graphics display feature turned off in his or her browser, and a key piece of information or navigation in your site is represented by a graphic only, then the chances of losing that visitor --and losing them for good—is greatly increased.
  12. Keep pages up-to-date.
    1. Web authoring is a job that has no end –publishing is just the beginning.
    2. Most of the work is in the maintenance –pages must be updated, removed, added.
    3. Links must be periodically checked –URLs are constantly changing, especially outside links.
    4. Nothing turns away visitors looking for information faster than getting repeated, "Page cannot be found" error messages, or seeing pages with "Last modified" lines reading, "June 17, 2003".
    5. Remove all unnecessary files –with a vengeance! If files are no longer an active part of the site, delete them or download them to your dept. share or to an external drive for off-server storage. Search engines have access to ALL files on the server…even if you have removed all links to them. Old, inaccurate or incomplete files are not safe just because you aren't leading visitors to them with a link…they can be easily accessed by performing a simple search on any search engine. And the exposure is much greater with a local CCRI site search engine. Also keep in mind, your previous visitors may have bookmarked your out-of-date pages so, the simplest way to prevent access to a obsolete file is to remove it --or if the file has been renamed or relocated, replace it with a redirect file to its new name and/or location.
  13. Publish original work.
    1. Focus on original content, which can only be found on your site, and for which you and your department or organization are responsible.
  14. Take advantage of what's already published on the CCRI web.
    1. Link to, rather than re-create, content available elsewhere. For example, rather than creating a "Course Descriptions" page or an "Academic Calendar" page, simply link to the appropriate pages in the college's online catalog.
  15. Review pages thoroughly before publishing.
    1. As stated in the opening paragraph of this document, web publishers must follow the same operating procedures as do print publishers --web pages should undergo no less scrutiny.
    2. The more "eyes" the better –have others review your pages before publishing. In the print publishing world, the author is never called upon to serve as the final proofreader and so it should be in web publishing. Have at least one other person look over your work…before you let the Whole Wide World look it over.
    3. Web publishers need to go one step further, however…they must also review how their work displays on various computers, browsers and operating systems, (Mac, PC and Unix).
  16. Announce your site.
    1. Don't wait for the mountain to come to you…be proactive!
    2. Send out notices to those who may have an interest in your site and notify the Marketing and Communications Office regarding placement in our "Featured Sites" section on the college's home page and/or other publications, such as News & Events.
    3. Be sure to double-check the URL on your announcements –mistyping a URL is a very common oversight. And remember; if you've used "index(.htm, .html, .html, etc.)" as your home page file name, you needn't include it in the URL!
    4. Register your site with the major search engines. They will eventually find you but it could take weeks or months. By actively registering your site, you can dramatically increase your visitors within a few weeks. Click on the links below and search their site for their "Add a URL" page which should contain complete instructions as to how to submit your URL to that particular search engine:
      1. Google
      2. Yahoo
      3. Bing
      4. Ask
      5. AOL Search


  1. Required for all department and organization site pages: the approved CCRI "Look & Feel"
    1. All departments and organizations are required to use the approved CCRI page design, (see example) which includes logos, typestyles and colors, on their sites. This requirement is designed to give an overall consistency to the "look and feel" of the college's website.
    2. Page templates for department and organization pages will be placed in all departmental and organizational folders which are currently active and maintained by an official Web Content Manager(CM). These customizable page templates provide the required logos, typestyles and navigational elements.
      Anyone planning to initiate a dept/org site should go to the About the CCRI Website section of our site, read all relevant materials, apply for web development permissions by filling out the Web Content Manager's Agreement Form and sending an e-mail to Web Services to set-up a training session(s).

      After the CM agreement is received, a new website will be created on the test server and customizable templates will be added to this site.

      After the CM has been trained in the use of the Content Management System, to develop and maintain their website, the CM will be given login access to the site and will be able to create, maintain and publish its content.
  2. Required on all CCRI website pages: signature footers.
    1. Develop a footer to be displayed on ALL pages which gives visitors contact information, including a linked e-mail address and a link back to your department's or organization's home page.

    For example:

    This page developed and maintained by the Rehabilitative Health Department. Send comments and suggestions about the content of this page or the technical operation of the website in general to Rehab Health Web Content Manager.

    You may create your own footer as long as it incorporates all of the above elements or you can use the footer which will be placed on your templates.

Last Updated: 4/9/20