Understand the Content and Site Development Process

On this page:

Expectations for Site Production, Optimization, Testing and Deployment

Please read this information carefully as it will help your site rollout smoothly and on time.

Your team is responsible for building your site. You can find resources to help you learn at the Web Management site.  We suggest everyone involved in building your site take our training.

  • Your site optimization is booked to start the morning of ________

When your site comes in for your optimization date your site needs to be done. By this we mean that you are ready to make your site live. (We want you to be successful. See below for hints on what you need to keep in mind when you are getting your site ready to for optimization).

We will be giving you a Site Launch Form that needs to be filled out before you come in for Site Optimization.  The reason this is so important is that we have a team of experts to review the Site Launch Form to make sure everything goes smoothly for your deployment.  The Site Launch Form will ask questions regarding choosing your URL, redirects, responsive web design (RWD), Google Analytics, Site Activation (Quiet Rollout), Full Launch (Redirecting Traffic) and Communications.

  • Your site is scheduled to deploy [3.5 weeks after your optimization date].

We suggest your team touch base with the DCT Help Desk [2 weeks after you start production] to affirm you are on target.

This guide addresses the following:

  • What your team is responsible for
  • Expectations for Content Development
    • Expectations for Site Production
  • Expectations for Optimization Readiness
    • What you can expect during optimization and site deployment.
    • And what you need to keep in mind after your site is live

Your team is responsible for the following:

When developing your content

  • Use this as a checklist
    • Make sure your content is written well for the web
    • Make sure your content is message-rich
    • Perform an editorial review of content for style, tone, and grammatical/spelling errors.
      • It is critically important that copy is edited and proofed
    • Check for duplicative content and see if it makes sense as shared content.
    • Check to see if university-wide shared content can be used.
    • Check links for common sense.
      • Is it valuable content?
      • Will that content be there next year (if not this is a stewardship issue)
      • Did you give a proper description so that the user knows what they are clicking on (and will be motivated to click)?
      • Do your links, bring users to the top of sites you link to, stranding your user or did you link deep enough to place them in a relevant portion of the site?

During your site production

  • Start Here:
  • Use this as a checklist
    • User Experience
      • Evaluate your general user experience (UX).
      • Does your site make sense to a new user?
      • Did you set it up the way you think? Or in a way that is intuitive and make sense to audiences that know nothing about you.
    • Is the way your site organized intuitive? (Don’t make users think!)
      • Will users know what they are getting when they click on a navigation item?
      • A sure fire way to lose a user is use labels for your calls to action or navigation that are “market speak, inside baseball or misleading”
      • Check your inspiration sites within the UBCMS, how did they solve treating their architecture or handle the type of page you are creating?
      • Lead pages in a section (the page you get when you click on the TOPIC navigation)
      • Be sure the first page in every section lists all the content in the section unless there is a compelling reason to set it up a different way
    • List pages
      • Make sure every “list page” teasers show relevant content
      • Hint: the default is to pick up the first image and the first paragraph on the child page it is teasing. If you want something else add the description or image in properties of the child page
    • Promoting other pages in your site
      • Make sure you are using teasers or modules to promote relevant site content in pages throughout your site (If you like this, you might also like this)
      • Make sure content isn’t overflowing in carousels, slide decks or other limited text components.
    • Using images
    • Make sure photos are message rich, look good, are professional and nicely cropped. (see selecting strong visuals).
      • Make sure that when images need context they have a caption and you have taken the time to make it message-rich. Instead of “Classroom in Department X” use “Our students are challenged in a variety of ways including learning in the classroom, online learning and opportunities for experiential learning”
      • Spot-check photo alt tags — if they are missing, add them in.
  • Does everything work?
    • Check every page in your site
    • Check forms to see if they work
    • Check links to see if they work
      • One tip that will make a difference: One common issue we see that can be avoided by following this advice: When you link to pages within your site (or within the UBCMS shared content) make sure you use the magnifying glass to find the page in the UBCMS directory tree rather than typing in the URL directly. That will save you MANY problems later on during testing and stewardship.
    • Check that there are no unfinished pages or “placeholder text or images”
      • Any pages that are unfinished should be hidden in navigation and lists so they do not show when your site goes live (You can find these check boxes in page properties)
  • If you need assistance
    • We suggest you work on your site about 2 weeks (at earliest) before you contact us. Often when you are more familiar with the system some of the solutions seem to fall into place.
    • Resources that can help
    • Look at our demo site on the training server. You can open up examples and see how they are set up.
    • Be sure to check if there is documentation or training available on this Web Management site.
      • Caveat: this is important as if this is something you should be able to do, we will ask you to look up the documentation
    • If you still need advice fill out the appropriate form

Check that your site is ready for optimization

  • Before you come in for optimization your site should be done and should be ready to go live
  • You will need to make sure you have reviewed every page in your site for all the checklists we outlined above

During the optimization and go live period, in order for Optimization to start:

  • Our DCT Team will review 6 pages. Please indicate which 6 you need reviewed (one must be the home page)
  • Submit the Site Launch Form via email
  • The DCT help desk will make optimization, RWD, redirect and activation arrangements with EAS based on the information you have in your completed Site Launch Form.

Week 1 of Optimization (week of _____)

  • The DCT Team will review your site and size what is needed
  • We will flag what needs to be done by YOUR TEAM with ORANGE annotations.

Weeks 2 and 3 of Optimization (_______)

  • If our comments are extensive or complex, at the beginning of Week 2, the DCT Team may ask you to meet with us to go over our annotations and answer any remaining questions you might have. We set up a meeting just in case, but we don’t always need to use it.
  • Our feedback (ORANGE annotations) need to be completed by your team within one week, or prioritized for completion at a later date.
  • Note that there are some critical issues we will ask you to address immediately (e.g. proofreading, branding, issues with user experience).
  • Your team should plan be available to address any critical issues we identify in a timely fashion

Go live week: (week of _____)

CAVEAT: This assumes we found no show stoppers the week before. This schedule is built assuming you have brought the ORANGE annotations identified into good shape.

Monday: Your site will have a Quiet Rollout

  • The site will be activated and made live between 6:00-8:00 am
  • Your representative (identified on the site launch form) will be available
  • An email will be sent to you once this is completed with the Quiet Rollout
  • Any further changes can be made by you with no intervention by activating your pages/changes that you make in author when you are ready to have them go live :-)

Monday and Tuesday: Your team will test your site

  • Every page needs to be looked at and "blessed" that it is truly done and ready for the public.
  • Every link must be clicked on to be sure it works
  • Any pages that draws information from other sites (Facebook, video, RSS, databases, third party vendors) needs to be looked at to see if the "feed" is working
  • Any page with an HTML snippet or customized CSS or JavaScript that you put in must be looked at in Firefox, Safari, IE, and on mobile devices to see if it is displaying properly (If no snippets or custom CSS or JavaScript are used, this does not have to be done)
  • All forms should be tested (check that email is sent properly, data is recorded, etc.).
  • Any search results pages using UB’s Google search appliance should be temporarily deactivated until the new site URLs have been indexed by the search (probably a day after the real deployment with redirects).
  • By 3pm TUESDAY the site MUST freeze and if you are not ready for deployment email dcthelp@buffalo.edu by no later than 3pm and we will work with you to reschedule your deployment date.
  • You must let ANYONE who links to your site know the new URL for the site



  • Redirects will be put in place from the old site to the new site between 6:00-8:00 am
  • Your representative (identified on the site launch) will be available to test the redirects and affirm everything went well
  • Not all sites have any extra steps to perform for the Wednesday deployment (brand new sites with no old sites or redirects will not have anything to do here).
  • Search results pages can be re-activated once the new site URLs have been indexed by the search (probably a day after the real deployment with redirects).

From this point forward 

  • Hooray! You are now stewarding and growing your site.
  • Any further changes can be made by you with no intervention by activating your pages/changes that you make in author when you are ready to have them go live.
  • Be sure to read our documentation on moving and deleting live pages!
  • Please use the following forms to request help.
  • We have a support team filled with people of different skills who will quickly triage and respond to your questions.
  • OR on the rare occasion there is a severe problem or bug: http://ubcms.buffalo.edu/help/all-forms.html#report-problems

And finally keep aware of changes and keep growing your skills and remember you are now part of a community of digital communications practitioners and your thoughts and experiences matter.

  • Read our bi-weekly email UBCMSCETERA that overviews:
    • Best practices
    • How to’s
    • Master Classes
    • New features or components
    • New site launches
    • Calls for feedback and ideas (magic wand sessions)
    • Solutions Groups meetings
    • Training opportunities
  • Take a moment when you visit the UB Web Management site to see what changes there are to documentation or new features that will help elevate your site
  • Attend our bi-monthly Solutions Group meetings. We share best practices, demo new ideas and components, teach new skills and share ideas. Who knows, we may be demoing your site!