Web Publishing Guide

  • To ensure a consistent look and feel for CSU, Chico's website, official university units are asked to use the University's standard web template (Cascade) pages as guidelines for page construction. The template pages can be viewed at University Web Templates. Contact Web Services if you wish to have your site moved into a template.
  • Use the Writing Style Guide as a guideline when writing content for your pages.
  • Web pages that provide specific university academic program information (requirements for majors, options, patterns, minors, or certificates) are required to use the official text of the academic program, as described in the current University Catalog. The best way to avoid the confusion that results from various published versions of academic information is to link directly to the relevant catalog pages.
  • Use language that is inclusive and not offensive.
  • Avoid advertising. It is acceptable to name a corporate partner or event sponsor. Partner and sponsor logos must be displayed smaller than the university logo on the site.
  • The Academic Senate at CSU, Chico supports the proposals on academic fair use developed by the Conference on Fair Use in May 1997 and published in Fair Use of Copyrighted Works, Consortium for Educational Technology for University Systems, 1995.
  • Ensure that your pages meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements as described in State Senate bill SB-105. Using the Cascade system will help you do this. Further information can be found in
  • Be careful linking to off-campus sites. Not all material on the Internet is acceptable to CSU, Chico's web audience. If you have any doubts about the suitability of a link, email Public Affairs and Publications.
  • Do not use the CSU, Chico website to reproduce or distribute copyrighted material without the author's or publisher's permission.
  • Do not use another person's personal data on a website unless you have the consent of the person concerned.
  • Always provide the name and contact details for the person responsible for a page.
  • Questions about these guidelines may be directed to the Public Affairs and Publications or the university web manager.

Writing for the Web

Copy written for the web is most effective if it follows the following general guidelines:

  • Visitors to your site should know exactly whose site it is and what its purpose is when they view your home page.
  • Use links to take readers into deeper levels of a topic.
  • Use descriptive text for links to make navigation more efficient. Readers are most likely to notice the first words in the link text, so choose words that are meaningful to your readers (e.g., "Create effective links." is better than "To learn how to create effective links, click here."). This also makes your content more accessible to people using screen readers.
  • Use subheads when your copy runs more than one screen in length.
  • Use short paragraphs and short sentences. Web readers skim to look for key information.
  • Spell out abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them on each page—think of each page as being self-contained.

Thinking About SEO

Many campus users have questions about search engine optimization (SEO), or making changes to your website that help users find it with a search engine such as Google. Fortunately, if your website is in campus's Cascade system, most of the work has been done for you. Following the suggested template and offering useful content to your readers is the best way to ensure that readers get to your page.

Other things you can do to be more visible include

  • Be authentic. Focus on what your readers want and expect—not on tweaks and "tricks" to appear higher in search results.
  • Write clear, short page titles, headlines, and subheads. Make sure they relate directly to your content.
  • Think about your intended audience. Tailor your content to their needs and expectations.
  • Write well. Use the tips above and in the Writing Style Guide.
  • Update your site regularly.

Web Development Service

The CSU, Chico Web Services team provides both self-service and chargeback services to assist faculty, staff, departments, and programs in updating and creating university websites. For more information about these services, see the Web Services website.