Whether you’re a seasoned web guru or a newbie to the web editing world, these best practices and guidelines will help you build a useful and usable website that tells your story and represents WashU.

Following best practices is about more than doing the right thing; it helps your site in key areas including:

  • Accessibility: Is the site accessible to all users, including people who have disabilities or use assistive technologies?
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Can search engines like Google determine what the site is about so it ranks well for relevant searches? 
  • User experience and expectations: Does the site follow established standards that most users will recognize? Breaking from usability conventions is likely to cause confusion, or even resentment.

Need more guidance? Contact our digital experts »

Buttons: Call attention to important links

A button helps a critical call to action stand out from other content on the page.

Checklist: Find quick ways to improve your site

Check through these items to identify high-level best practices and content needs for your site.

Content Strategy 101: Identify your goals and your audience’s objectives

An effective content strategy requires thinking through the goals of your site, why people may visit, and how to guide visitors through your content.

Content Strategy 102: Organize pages for users’ needs

Arrange content in an information architecture (IA) that is intuitive for your target audience.

Google rankings: Optimize your content for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) can increase your site’s visibility by helping your pages rank higher in search engine results.

Headings and titles: Guide users with scannable content

A consistent approach for page titles and subheads creates a cohesive experience across your site.

Homepage: Create a clear path for your site’s visitors

Consider both user objectives and business objectives when developing the content and layout for your homepage.

Links: Make links clear, convenient and reliable

Links that are descriptive and useful build trust. As Kara Pernice of the Nielsen Norman Group observes, "A link is a promise."

Pages: Build pages like a boss

Professional-grade pages balance content needs with a site's structural hierarchy.

Style guide: Check up on WashU editorial standards

The style manual helps us independently develop communications that collectively build the university's reputation.

Web accessibility: Make your site accessible and inclusive

WashU websites should be accessible to people of all abilities, including people who use assistive technologies.

Writing for the web: Adapt your content for digital platforms

User expectations, fussy search engines, countless devices, oh my! These and other factors require a tailored approach to writing for the web.

Web Accessibility Users Group

Web accessibility includes standards and best practices for creating web-based content that’s accessible to people with disabilities and those using assistive technology.

If you’d like to learn more, visit the Web Accessibility Users Group website and sign up to learn about their next meeting.