New website? What to expect
Digital Communications supports over 400 websites as part of umaine.edu, and that number grows every month. We are always available to help set up a new website, and understand that it can take site owners a while to get content ready for launch. Here is a brief overview of our process for creating and launching new websites.
Requesting a website
The first step is usually to request a new website. We have a form on our website to kick off this process. Some points to keep in mind:
- Websites must use the umaine.edu address, for example umaine.edu/yoursite, and not yoursite.org
- It is a good idea to use keywords in your website address, for example umaine.edu/studentlife or umaine.edu/campusrecreation. This helps increase search ranking on words or phrases your visitors use (such as “student life” or “campus recreation”).
- We strongly recommend “subdirectory” site addresses instead of “subdomains.” A brand-new site with a subdirectory style site address (umaine.edu/sitename) will inherit the search presence of umaine.edu, while a subdomain style site address (sitename.umaine.edu) has no search advantage when it is launched.
Working on your new site
Once created, your website will have an address that begins with “new.umaine.edu.” This is our naming style for websites under construction, and will be a temporary web address for your site. Please do not promote your site at this address as it will change when your site launches.
When your website is ready to launch
After you have completed work on your new website, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will review its content and schedule it for launch. Some items our review looks for:
- Web accessibility compliance: we will look at the published web pages to identify any changes needed to abide by web accessibility requirements, such as text alternatives for all images, descriptive link text, and use of images and text together.
- Published page audit: we review every published page on the new website, because every published page is submitted to search engines and will appear in site search. If there are any pages that are empty of content, these should be set to draft status even if they are not linked up.
Most site reviews can be completed within 2-3 days. Once reviewed and approved, we will schedule your website to launch during an upcoming maintenance window. These windows are on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, so please plan ahead and request your site review/launch at least one and a half weeks before you plan to promote it.
What happens after launch
Once your website is launched, the site address will change from a new.umaine.edu address to a umaine.edu address. This means your site login will also change, simply append “wp-admin” to the end of your published website address and the login screen will appear.
As part of site launch, we will submit your new website’s “site map” to public search engines (Google and Bing). This is a specially-formatted XML file that all umaine.edu websites create to assist search engines in a full index of your website content.