Digital Content Guide

If you're writing content for Willamette’s website, online calendar, Today@Willamette or email, then this digital content guide is your road map. is the first place most people seek information related to the university. These guidelines aim to create a satisfying user experience by ensuring the uniformity, consistency, and accessibility of our communications. With tens of thousands of pages on our website, don’t assume that one page’s spelling of a word, layout, or formatting is correct. Consult these guidelines and tutorials with your questions.

The sections below provide quick tips that answer frequently asked questions, list best practices, and correct common mistakes. You’ll also find links to resources on the university’s website, including Cascade CMS tutorials.

Because the digital world evolves rapidly, so will this guide. If you can’t find something here that you need or have feedback about the guide, please contact the Marketing Department. If you have specific questions about Cascade CMS and the construction of webpages, please contact Tonya Wheeler, Web Developer.

When writing for the website, Today@Willamette and other university communications, follow the university’s writing style guide. Consult the AP Stylebook for subjects not covered. For spelling not covered in either of those, use Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Quick Tips


Be succinct and clear. Remember that English isn’t the first language for many of our visitors.

All Caps

Do not use all caps. They also indicate yelling. If you must draw attention to text, use bold or italics, but do this sparingly.


Know the difference between hyphens, em dashes and en dashes. Learn shortcuts to use them.

  • Click on Ω in the upper-left corner of the WebEdit text editor (WYSIWYG) to open the “Select Special Character” window. Select the — or –.
  • Mac shortcut
    • Em dash (—): Shift+Option+dash
    • En dash (–): Option+dash
  • PC shortcut
    • Em dash (—): Alt+0151
    • En dash (–): Alt+0150


An ellipse has a space before … and after it, except when adjacent to a quotation mark. “... believe me …”

Exclamation Points

Do not use exclamation points, or use them sparingly. They are the written equivalent of yelling.


A page’s header font is automatically sized as “Heading 1.” For subheadings with your text, use “Heading 2.” For sub-subheadings, use “Heading 3.” This is important for clarity, consistency, accessibility and searchability.


When using a word you think needs a hyphen, consult the writing style guide or look it up in Webster’s New World College Dictionary. You’ll be surprised by which words do and don’t have them.

  • Cocurricular, coed, email and nonprofit do not have hyphens.


Follow the university’s recommended practices for links.

  • Insert hyperlinks into text without using phrases such as “click here” and “see examples.”
  • When linking to other webpages on, use internal links. Do not copy and paste URLs from our website into the external link field. This results in broken links if webpages are moved within the website.

Quotation Marks and Apostrophes

Use smart quotes; these are curved quotation marks and apostrophes. When typing directly into Cascade CMS, the default quote is straight rather than curved. Ways to create smart quotes:

  • Use these keyboard shortcuts.
  • Click on Ω in the upper-left corner of the WebEdit text editor (WYSIWYG) to open the “Select Special Character” window. Select the appropriate smart quote.

Special Characters

To create accented letters, Greek letters, and characters that aren’t on your keyboard, click on Ω in the upper-left corner of the WebEdit text editor (WYSIWYG) to open the “Select Special Character” window.

Text Formatting Help

Cascade CMS tutorials and best practices for WYSIWYG editing (formatting text).

This section includes tips for creating content — text — for webpages, including faculty and staff bios.

Quick Tips

How Often to Update Webpages for a Department or Office

  • Departments and offices are encouraged to review and update their web pages once per year.
  • Faculty bios should be updated at least twice per year — preferably monthly to include new publications.
  • Staff additions or departures should be updated immediately.
  • Essential information that changes should be updated immediately.
  • Be consistent in how you build staff and faculty pages.
  • Schedule recurring website updates in your calendar, so you don’t forget.

Keep It Simple

  • Having quality engaging content is better than quantity.
  • Don’t overwhelm people with too much text and too many hyperlinks. (This page is not an example of what offices and departments should look like.)

Remove Dated Content


  • When linking to interviews, podcasts, reviews, awards, or other media, don’t type out the URL. Type the titles of these items and use hyperlinks.

Faculty Profile Pages (Bios)

These pages provide the first impression that prospective students, parents, peers and media often have of our faculty members, so strike a balance between academic language and personable vernacular.

  • Minimum content to be included
    • Name
    • Title
    • Academic training (where and degrees earned)
    • Citations (up to 10 total)
      • For the remainder, upload a PDF of a complete CV.
    • Classes taught within a two-year cycle
    • Contact information (Include office address, phone and email; social media links and full CV are optional.)
  • Optional (but helpful) content
    • Short bio (in paragraph form)
    • Recent photo (headshot) of faculty member (The standard avatar will appear if a headshot isn’t used.)
    • Awards (internal, external, grants, fellowships)
      • List three to five most recent or pertinent.
      • For the remainder, upload a full CV.
    • CVs (Upload as PDF file.)
    • Links to personal webpages
    • Publications
      • Use links, blogs, social media and personal web pages for full descriptions and complete lists.
  • Keep pages cohesive.
  • Write in brief paragraphs when possible.
  • Use bullet points.
  • A mix of bullet points and paragraphs is acceptable.
  • If possible, open with something engaging. Don’t be afraid to be personable.
  • Examples: Rebecca J. Dobkins, David Craig, Abigail Susik, Wallace Long Jr.
  • To keep bios from being too long, link to websites, blogs or CVs.
    • Viewers tend not to scroll very far down the screen.
  • Full-time, part-time, and visiting faculty pages should be populated.
  • Provide additional content for prospective students.
  • Cascade CMS has more options for profile-page sections.
    • Teaching philosophy
    • Professional or research interests
    • Personal interests

Staff Profile Pages (Bios)

For departments and offices as a whole

  • Be consistent throughout your office. Use the same sections in each staff member’s profile.
  • If appropriate to your office, develop a personable voice or tone that reflects the service your office provides the community.

On staff members’ individual profile pages, include the following:

  • Photo
  • Name
  • Position
  • A few brief paragraphs: what the staff member does, education, professional background and hobbies
  • Publications (if applicable)
  • Link to personal website (if applicable)
  • Example: Carol S. Long

Webpages for Recurring Events

  • After an event is over, update its webpage so that it is clear the event has already taken place.
  • If there is a news story on the website about the event, link to it.
  • Consider adding a photo gallery of a completed event.
  • As soon as the next event in a series is booked, update the page to reflect this. Don’t wait until a month before.
  • If an event sells out, update its page to reflect this immediately.

Photo and Video

  • Show and tell the story of your department and what faculty and students are doing.
  • If you are interested in updating photos and videos for your webpage, contact Marketing & Communications for assistance and guidance.
  • Official portraits are taken by Marketing & Communications and can be arranged by contacting Frank Miller, visual media manager.
  • For common Cascade CMS photo sizes and tutorial links, see the “Visual elements” section of this page.

Departmental Webpage or Bulletin Announcement?

  • If the information is essential to your department’s mission, accreditation, program information or class offerings and will be useful to web visitors in the long term, add it to the department’s webpage.
  • If the information is news-centered, such as a publication, grant or award announcement, submit it to the Willamette University Bulletin. Be sure to add these accomplishments to faculty and staff bio pages.

News pages and Today@Willamette Submissions

  • Headlines and teasers: Keep them brief. Generally, headlines should be no more than six to nine words and teasers no more than one complete sentence or two brief sentences. This keeps the news-story feeds on the website tidy.
  • Capitalization for headlines: Capitalize only the first word of a headline and proper nouns. Follow AP Style Guidelines.
  • Categories: In the “Majors and Degrees” and “Offices” windows, select only your department or office so that the story will show up in the news feed on your departmental page. Do not select other categories.
  • Questions: Contact Jennifer Johnson, Senior Communications Specialist

Page Titles and Names

Cascade CMS Help

Today@Willamette is the university’s comprehensive and official source for news and events. If you’re writing announcements, please follow the university’s Writing Style Guide. Consult the AP Stylebook for subjects not covered. For spelling not covered in either of those, use Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Quick tips

Benefits of Using the Today@Willamette

  • Everyone with a email receives Today. You’ll potentially reach the entire campus community with your announcement.
  • Submitting an announcement automatically creates a webpage for your announcement on that is easily shared on social media and searchable by Google and other search engines.
  • In addition to the daily bulletin, submitted events are listed on the university’s online calendar that populates event feeds on the website. Members of the media and the larger Mid-Valley community search for campus events using the online calendar.

Announcement and News Story Headlines

  • Follow AP style guidelines — only the first word of a headline and proper nouns are capitalized. (Do not follow the style of this page which is different. Regular webpages’ headers and titles follow traditional capitalization rules.)

Days of the Week, Months and Time

  • a.m. and p.m.
  • Complete hours are listed without a colon and zeroes — 3 p.m., not 3:00 p.m.
  • All months are abbreviated with a period when they precede a date, except March, April, May, June and July.
  • Dates are always whole numbers, not ordinals. Examples: Jan. 1, Feb. 29, March 18, April 21, May 23, June 14, July 31, Aug. 13, Sept. 12, Oct. 23, Nov. 3 and Dec. 24.
  • Days of the week are never abbreviated. You don’t need to list the day of the week when you list the date.
    • Example: The event is at 5 p.m. July 5 in Smith Auditorium.

Quick Tips


Unless you have explicit, written permission from the copyright holder:

  • Do not use copyrighted images, videos, music or text outside of the classroom.
  • Do not use copyrighted material on the university’s website, including on the calendar and in Today@Willamette announcements.
  • Do not use copyrighted material on social media.
  • Providing attribution or credit to a source is not a substitute for obtaining permission.

Fair Use

If you are using copyrighted material and plan to claim fair use, consider the following:

  • You may use copyrighted materials only for educational purposes, within the walls of a classroom.
  • You may use copyrighted materials for a limited and transformative purpose, such as commentary, criticism and parody.
  • If you are sharing or storing copyrighted materials online for classroom, the materials must be hosted on the university’s website behind the login, such as on WISE.
  • Once you leave the confines of the classroom or the password-protected sections of the website, you have a more difficult time claiming fair use.
  • More information on fair use

Public Domain

You may use images, texts and recordings in a public forum if the copyright of the material has expired. You are responsible for doing the appropriate research to confirm material is in public domain. Here are a few resources:

University Policies Related to Copyright

When posting on social media and the university’s website, Willamette students and employees will observe the university’s policies concerning copyright and intellectual property.


Contact the following staff if you are unable to determine whether you have permission to use something:

For help setting up or troubleshooting Willamette email accounts and Google Groups, contact WITS.

Quick Tips

Addressing Email — Fields

  • To: Use for those for whom the email requires a direct response or action.
  • Cc: Add people who need to know about the email’s content but don’t need to respond or act, such as when your supervisor or colleague needs to know you’ve taken action or responded to an email.
  • Bcc: Use this to hide recipients’ email addresses from the other recipients, such as when sending an email to a large group of people or when you have a sensitive situation and need to show your supervisor your email without the recipient knowing.
  • Bulk emails: Best practice is to use Bcc. This respects recipients’ privacy, avoids accidental replies to the entire list and prevents spamming and phishing.

Google Groups

Today@Willamette Versus Google Groups

  • Generally, mass email groups are reserved for messages essential to the operations or mission of the university, campus safety notifications and situations that require immediate action from the entire community.
  • Submit all other announcements to the Today@Willamette. This automatically creates a webpage for your announcement on the Willamette website that is easily shared on social media and searchable by Google and other search engines.
  • Submit events to the university’s online calendar to have them listed in feeds on the website and in Today@Willamette. This also creates a webpage for your event that is easily shared.

Email Signatures

View/download signature templates


  • Keep your signature simple and professional, three or four lines long.
  • Don’t include your email address. It’s already at the top of the email.
  • Best practice is not to cite inspirational quotes on your professional email. If you’d like to use a quote consider using a university-related one:

Social Media Links

How to Create a Gmail Signature

  • Select and copy a signature from one of the WU signature templates.
  • In Gmail, open the Settings and scroll down to the Signature field.
  • Paste the signature template into the field and edit it to your information.
  • Add/edit the social media links:
    • Use your mouse to select the icon. (You may need to click and drag the cursor over the icon to select it.)
    • Once the icon is highlighted, click on Link in the toolbar.
    • Enter the URL of the social media page.
    • Select OK.
  • When finished with your signature, scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and save.

Submit events to the university’s online calendar to have them listed in Today@Willamette and on the website. This also creates a webpage with the event’s information that can be easily shared on social media and via email.

Quick Tips

  • Be clear.
  • Be brief.
  • Avoid long titles.
  • If you’re seeking an audience from outside the university, avoid overusing academic terms and jargon in your title.
  • Use the event description field to provide the event’s full name and explain the event in more detail.
  • You don’t have to say it all. Use hyperlinks to link interested parties to more information, promotional videos or photos, and other resources, such as a map or parking instructions.
  • If you select an end time for your event, be sure it’s different from the start time.

For more information about and resources for Willamette’s social media, see the Social Media Policy.

Quick Tips

Social Media Avatars

  • Logos and marks are reserved for use by faculty and staff and may not be used to promote non-university activities or imply endorsement.
  • On social media, departments, offices and organizations affiliated with Willamette are encouraged to use the compass logo or another approved image as a social media avatar.

Social Media Photos

  • Cover photos: Use photos, videos or graphics in your social media cover photos that reflect the unique character of your department, office or organization while being true to the Willamette spirit.
  • Photos for posts, shared link and video previews: Image dimensions change periodically on social media, so it’s best to consult an updated and trusted source on the internet if you need help sizing photos.

Describing Willamette

  • Please use these boilerplate texts of 50, 100, 280 and 500 words to describe the university.

For more information about the university’s logos, fonts, colors, photographs and other visual style elements, consult the university’s visual style guide. Font and color choices are predetermined on the website and most social media. When creating your own graphics, memes, and other visuals, these quick tips provide information you’ll frequently use.

Quick Tips

Visual consistency reinforces Willamette’s quality and reputation with the public and helps distinguish us from our competitors.

Color Palette for Online

Typography and Fonts

Photo sizes for Cascade CMS

  • Hero image: 1400 pixels wide x 700 pixels tall
  • Faculty headshot: 800 x 800 pixels

Cascade CMS Photo and Image Tutorials

Willamette University


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