Author Archives: Susan Gill

About Susan Gill

Web Project Manager, Office of Communications and Marketing, 133 Smyth Hall, Virginia Tech, 540-231-6630

Writing for the Web

14108561722_2a5c4984da_zWhat websites do you like reading? What ones do you glance at once and never come back to? Have you ever thought that your favorite websites might be just that because of the way the content is presented?

One of the biggest challenges for academic and educational websites is to inform, but not bog down, the website visitor. People are used to being able to quickly digest little snippets of information when they’re looking at a screen, rather than reading long paragraphs of prose.

Good content developed for your website also increases the accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO) of your website by tailoring the words to be concise and descriptive. Continue reading

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What’s up in the VT, CALS, and VCE web world?

With the start of a new semester, I wanted to welcome those who are new to the CALS and VCE family and to give some web-related updates. I’ve gotten lots of questions in the past few months regarding a variety of things, so see the sections below for information on the CMS migration, new web templates, and restructured teams. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions!

Content Management System migration

The Virginia Tech web team is hard at work testing the new content management system (CMS) and making sure the migration will go smoothly. An exact date for the switch over has not been announced, but it should be in the next few weeks.

Please note that the VCE Unit Office websites will not be migrated at the same time as the rest of the CMS. It was originally built with special content types that require a separate process. While the rest of the websites are moved into the new system, the Offices sites will remain in the old system. This is a very good thing because it means that we won’t need to potentially troubleshoot the CALS, main VCE, and Publications websites at the same time as the 107 unit office websites! See the next section below for information regarding the Unit Office redesign project.

While the switch over is happening, we are anticipating a blackout period where CMS users will not be able to access the system and make updates. If you anticipate needing to update your website around the start of the semester, do this now! Don’t wait! Otherwise, it may be awhile before your content and/or documents can be updated. Continue reading

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Website Best Practices: With great power comes great responsbility

In the spring 2015 semester, the websites hosted at Virginia Tech will be moved from the old content management system (CMS) into a new one. With this change, there will be a greater opportunity for you to manage your own webpages and content because the new CMS will be much more user-friendly!

Once you’ve learned the new CMS, it may be tempting to try all the cool stuff one can do with websites. Some people have been able to figure out how to apply different styles to text on a page, but when they do, it breaks the cohesive look and feel that a template offers.

So how do you know if you’re creating a good looking page without going off on a design tangent? By following Web best practices! Continue reading

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Are you ’In?: Using LinkedIn for networking

Did you know that LinkedIn is one of the fastest social media networks? Thanks to the economic recession, LinkedIn gained in popularity as unemployment climbed, and it became a way to easily search for jobs and be seen by prospective employers.

Students graduating from college are now encouraged to have an online presence, and LinkedIn is where the students turn when creating a resume or CV for their first job hunt.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a LinkedIn group. It is a closed group, meaning members have to be approved before they can see all group activity so the moderators can make sure requestors have a Virginia Tech affiliation.

The groups are set up like a discussion forum. Participants can ask questions, create posts, and share information. One of the newest features is that members can post jobs and requests for employment. This makes the group a powerful place where students and alumni can connect and network. The communications office selects relevant news stories and posts them on the board to keep information fresh, even when discussions have been quiet.

Please join us on LinkedIn and find a new way to connect with students, alumni, and your fellow Virginia Tech employees!

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