Q: What’s your advice for managing multiple social media accounts (e.g., personal and work)?
A: It is possible to keep multiple social media accounts so that you can separate your personal thoughts and posts from your professional ones. If you want to do this, we advise making your personal account’s name or handle unrelated to WSU. But this is purely a personal choice. There are faculty who use their personal account to share thoughts on many topics, some who only post about their research, conferences, etc., and those who combine them.
Social media is very dynamic and can be used to suit your particular needs. Twitter makes it very easy to establish multiple accounts and to switch between them quickly on their phone app. If you plan to manage multiple accounts, just be careful: posting the wrong thing to the wrong account can be a hassle.
Q: How can we motivate faculty to use social media?
A: I wish I knew! We’re trying to encourage faculty and staff to use social media by providing trainings. Some people are intimidated by the openness of social media, so we’re trying to help them feel more confident. We’re also trying to explain the benefits of using tools like Twitter, one of which is to spread the word about the science they’re doing and the impacts they’re making.
We’ve begun social media trainings (our first explained how to get started on Twitter and how to brand yourself), and we plan to offer them regularly. All trainings are archived and available on our website: Virtual Office Hours.
If you have ideas or suggestions for a training, please let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How can we use Twitter to drive traffic to our website?
A: The best way to drive traffic to your website using Twitter is to include links to your website in your posts and to build your audience/followers. Website traffic will increase if you post links and post often. Try not to post a link to the same page on the site each time, but link to different aspects or sections of your site. People following your account do so because you have information that’s relevant to them. And keep in mind: Twitter moves VERY fast, so don’t worry about posting too much. While I wouldn’t post links to the same page multiple times a day, I would post at least once a day, at different times of the day. It can’t hurt!
Q: Can I retweet my own tweets? Why or why not?
A: You can retweet your own tweets, but most people don’t. We often tweet about the same topic multiple times in a week or month, but I always write a different tweet each time. Tweets are very short, so you can only include so much info in a single tweet. That said, it’s standard and simple to reconfigure a message or include slightly different info for multiple tweets on the same topic. Also, remember to use different images if possible.
Q: How often can I reuse content on social media?
A: Best practices for reusing content depend on the platform and the topic. Generally on Twitter, it’s difficult to overuse content (unless you’re tweeting the same exact tweet multiple times every day). Vary your message, and vary the times you post it, and you’ll be fine.
On other platforms, like Facebook or Instagram, it’s better to post fresh content. These platforms don’t move as quickly as Twitter does, so the content you post remain on people’s feeds longer and don’t refresh as often.
Q: Which do you use: Hootsuite or Tweetdeck? Why?
A: We use both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite but for different purposes.
Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter, so its functionality is a little more smooth. We use Tweetdeck primarily to schedule tweets. The drawback to Tweetdeck is that there’s not much flexibility in composing your tweets. For instance, you can’t schedule a tweet if it has more than one image, and it’s harder to use things like gifs.
Hootsuite is owned by a third party company, and we use it to monitor Twitter topics. It does a pretty good job of constantly updating searchable topics on Twitter—sort of like the Google of social media. In Hootsuite, you can enter a search term and it will tell you anytime anyone posts a tweet using the words or phrases you’re searching.
Q: How do I develop hashtags? Are there tools available to generate them?
A: While tools exist to generate or monitor hashtags (such as hashtagify.me), we’ve never used them; we just create our own. But we do search Twitter before using a new hashtag. In general, avoid using hashtags that are associated primarily with other groups, especially if any negative use can be detected.
Our most used hashtags are #GoCougs and #WSU, and those are easy to incorporate. We also created the hashtag #WSUBees, which was easy one to establish and unlikely anybody else would appropriate it for something else.
Q: When you delete a tweet due to an error, can it still be seen in your feed?
A: No. Once you delete a tweet, it’s gone from your twitter feed. However, it could still show up in another twitter user’s feed for a short time, until their feed refreshes. They won’t be able to retweet it, but they can do a screen grab.
Q: What are the best social media outlets to take advantage of?
A: All of them! Integrating communication efforts across social media platforms is the best way to expand the reach of your messaging. That said, every social media outlet has its strengths and weaknesses.
- Twitter is great for quick and short items that you can re-post multiple times. Twitter goes so fast, so it’s very easy for users or your followers to miss something. As a result, there’s virtually no concern with posting a lot.
- Instagram is great for when you have a really good photos and want to reach students.
- Facebook changes their focus regularly, but they like to emphasize video. Posting videos on Facebook can get some good traction. But, since posts linger longer on this platform, posting too much can negatively affect your reach.
- Snapchat is especially effective for reaching students.
The most important thing is figuring out what your goals are, and integrating the platforms that best fit those needs. Then, the task is to keep constantly updating with new content.
Q: What are some strategies for using social media to promote my organization?
A: Social media is a good way to promote resources and work with other communities and organizations. Many agencies and Extension offices have Facebook or Twitter pages that you can use to interact and cross-promote workshops, activities, or new publications.
Training and Learning Resources
Q: What options are available for online learning services, such as Lynda.com?
A: WSU’s Human Resource Services (HRS) has made a variety of online learning and training resources through SkillPort available at Training.
If—after reviewing HRS’s offerings—you identify additional online learning or training needs, the best option for securing these resources would be to either:
- Contact HRS
- Contact CAHNRS IT
Q: What HTML and CSS coding classes or trainings are available?
A: WSU’s Human Resource Services (HRS) has made a variety of online learning and training resources through SkillPort—including courses on HTML and CSS—available at Training.
CAHNRS Communications also has several website-related resources available that you may find helpful.
In addition, there are many free online resources which can be found by a google search for “learn html and css online free.”
If—after reviewing the above options—you identify additional online learning or training needs, the best option for securing these resources would be to either:
- Contact HRS
- Contact CAHNRS IT
Q: What webinar or video conference trainings are available?
A: If using Skype for Business, WSU’s Human Resource Services (HRS) has made a variety of online learning and training resources through SkillPort—including courses on using Skype for Business—available at Training.
If—after reviewing HRS’s offerings—you identify additional online learning or training requirements, we’d recommend that you contact CAHNRS IT with this question so that they can guide you to the best training resources for your specific needs:
Alternatively, you may be interested in the pay-per-use webinar service through CAHNRS Communications Web Team on GoToWebinar, where all the technical considerations are managed for you so that you can focus on delivering your webinar content. For details and to order, visit CAHNRS Communications: GoToWebinar.
Q: What Google Analytics trainings are available?
A: WSU’s Human Resource Services (HRS) has made a variety of online learning and training resources through SkillPort—including courses on using Google Analytics—available at Training.
CAHNRS Communications also has two recorded office hours sessions related to Google analytics.
In addition, there are many free online resources which can be found by a google search for “learn google analytics online free”.
If—after reviewing the above options—you identify additional online learning or training needs, the best option for securing these resources would be to either:
- Contact HRS
- Contact CAHNRS IT
Q: What training topics are CAHNRS Communications considering for future webinars?
A: Based on feedback we’ve received from our customers, here are some of the topics we are considering for upcoming webinars:
- Press Releases
- Writing to Maximize Potential for Publishing
- Website Design
- Best Practices & Recommendations
- Optimizing Website Layout and User Flow
- Designing for Maximum User Engagement
- Advanced Features
- Tips & Tricks
- HTML Coding
- Social Media
- Best Practices & Recommendations
If you have an idea for a training topic that isn’t listed here, we’d love to hear it! Please share it with us by:
Q: Where can I find information about the next CAHNRS Communications training session?
A: Details for upcoming training sessions are kept up-to-date on our Virtual Office Hours page. Please bookmark it and check back regularly!
Q: Are CAHNRS Communications training sessions recorded for later viewing and reference?
A: CAHNRS Communications offers two types of training sessions: (1.) topical presentations and (2.) open office hours.
Topical presentation recordings are made available on our Virtual Office Hours page.
For open office hours sessions, a write-up of questions and answers that were covered during the session is provided in place of a recording on our Virtual Office Hours page as well.
WordPress, Websites, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Q: Where should I go to get technical support for my WordPress website?
A: The best way to get support is to contact our CAHNRS Communication’s web team by:
Q: Do you assist in one-on-one website design, and at what rates?
A: Yes, we regularly assist with one-on-one website design. You can request a free quote for this by:
Our latest rates and services are listed at CAHNRS Communications.
Q: I need to create a “micro-site” for a conference / event / piece of featured information / etc. Is it appropriate to request a special stand-alone page?
A: This depends on your project’s budget.
If you have funds available for the project, the creation of special micro-sites is available at an affordable hourly rate through the CAHNRS Communications web team. For a free consultation on the best options for your specific needs and budget, please contact us by:
If you don’t have funds available, we recommend simply adding a page to your existing website with the information and directing users there. An advantage of this approach is that micro-site visitors can also easily browse your main content through your website’s navigation.
Q: Are samples of available WordPress website functionality available?
A: Not yet — however, the CAHNRS Communications web team is planning to update and extend our website with this information by the end of 2017.
Q: How can I get access to my website’s statistics in Google Analytics?
A: To get access to your website’s statistics in Google Analytics, simply submit a request.
Q: How many links should I add to my pages? Do too many links hurt SEO?
A: Adding links to your website content is an important factor in its Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here a few online resources that explain how this works:
However—as with virtually any good thing—too much can be a problem. If every other word in your paragraph is a link, it makes it more difficult for visitors to read, and can lead to a negative user experience. It also gives the poor impression that you are desperate for the reader (or Google) to click.
As such, we recommend that:
- You do add links within your content
- When you add links, you do it with the reader in mind. Ask yourself “If I was visiting this page, what types of links, and how many links, would I want to see?”
Q: What tools are available for controlling the editorial access of multiple content authors on my WordPress website?
A: The specific tool for managing content editor access endorsed by WSU Central is the “Editorial Access Manager” available at Github: Editorial Access Manager
If you need help installing this tool on your WordPress site(s), please contact us by:
Q: I would like to add a slideshow to the homepage of my website. What options do I have?
A: Your options depend on the Theme and Plugin(s) that are installed on your WordPress website. In order for us to provide the specific possibilities available to you, please contact us with your website’s URL by:
Q: Does everyone have access to the same version of WordPress?
A: There are three different versioned-items which control functionality and appearance for your website:
- The WordPress platform
- Your website’s theme
- Any active plugins
All WordPress websites are on the WordPress platform, for which updates are regularly released by wordpress.org. These updates are then either automatically applied to your site or manually applied by system administrators, depending on how your specific website is configured. Typically, you should not attempt to update this yourself unless you are sufficiently familiar with WordPress and coding to resolve issues that may arise during the upgrade. If websites are on different WordPress update versions, it’s generally because of your administrator’s manual update schedule.
WordPress websites may have different themes and sub-themes (known as “child” themes), each of which has a unique version update schedule. Changing and updating themes can visually break many aspects of your website, so we recommend contacting our team with your specific needs so that we can help you with this by:
Similarly, WordPress websites may have many different active plugins, each of which has a unique version update schedule. Changing and updating plugins can break the functionality or appearance of websites, so we recommend contacting our team with your specific needs so that we can help you with this by:
You may also find the answer to the question How important is it to have the same look for our websites? Currently, there are obvious visual differences between our county, extension, and college websites. helpful.
Q: How important is it to have the same look for our websites? Currently, there are obvious visual differences between our county, extension, and college websites.
A: When designing the look and feel of websites, it is important to consider who the primary audience for a website is, and what their needs and expectations are.
In general, using consistency in design for related websites provides a more intuitive user experience, and better website utilization. This is the design rationale behind why the county extension websites were given a similar look, feel, and structure.
If you have specific questions about the options and/or design rationale for your specific website, please contact us by:
You may also find the discussion about WordPress themes in the answer to the question Does everyone have access to the same version of WordPress? helpful.
Q: We are considering using a different website platform than WordPress. What do we need to keep in mind? Do you have any recommendations?
A: The three most important considerations when selecting a website platform other than WordPress are the support available, the platform costs, and whether a URL containing wsu.edu is needed.
WordPress is the officially supported website platform for Washington State University. It is supported by the CAHNRS Communications web team and University Communications and is provided at no cost. Because of its support from WSU, WordPress sites can be hosted at URLs containing wsu.edu.
While other website platforms (such as ASP.NET platforms) are maintained by WSU’s CAHNRS IT and Central IT, fewer support resources are available due to the specialization, and these platforms may carry an added cost. Depending on the nature of the website platform, there may also be additional hurdles for using a URL containing wsu.edu.
Many other website platforms exist (such as Google Sites, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly), but they are likely not supported by Washington State University and some have associated costs. In addition, it is unlikely that using a wsu.edu url would be permitted for use with these other platforms.
Q: What is the recommended retention time for files uploaded to our website? Should older files be regularly deleted?
A: Ideally, only files that you are actively using or plan to reuse again soon should be stored on your website. Outdated and unused files should be replaced and removed respectively.
The benefits of keeping your website files up-to-date and streamlined are:
- Improved organization
- Greater ease in finding files for new and updated content
- Reduced volume of files that need to be monitored for adherence to WSU Accessibility policies
Before removing files, it is important to ensure you have updated any website content that references those files. Otherwise, a broken link to the missing file will exist, resulting in a negative user experience.
Q: My County Extension website has featured articles on the top-right corner of my home page that I can’t control. What are my options?
A: When the County Extension themes were created, a central content repository was planned for feeding new articles to the top-right “featured article” section across all county sites. Unfortunately, the repository project was shelved, which is why you aren’t seeing new articles in those slots.
Based on this question, the CAHNRS Communications web team is investigating alternate options for that website area on county websites. When we identify and roll out options for this, we plan to communicate them via our updated website (as noted in: Are samples of available WordPress website functionality available? ).
Q: I understand that WordPress installations on the University Communications and CAHNRS WordPress servers will be merging. Can you provide more information?
A: Currently, most CAHNRS and Extension websites are hosted using a custom Central IT server environment. In order to better support its customers, the CAHNRS Communications web team is developing a plan to move these CAHNRS and Extension websites to the WSU University Communications’ dedicated WordPress server.
This centralization and standardization of WordPress server environments will:
- increase and diversify the support available for CAHNRS & Extension WordPress websites
- increase the long-term stability and uptime of hosted websites
- enhance the collaboration between the CAHNRS Communications and University Communications web teams, and
- eliminate custom server operation costs.
Where the conversion requires significant changes to WordPress website design or functionality, impacted users will be contacted by the CAHNRS Communication web team with further details about the conversion. We will attempt to make the transition as seamless as possible.
A significant effort will be required to ensure a seamless conversion of server environments, and thus this conversion is expected to occur incrementally over approximately two years.
Websites that are not hosted on CAHNRS and Extension’s custom Central IT server environment will not be impacted by this conversion project.
Q: Will WordPress ever go to a folder-type management of files & pages?
A: CAHNRS Communications does not have any information from WordPress about this. We’d recommend contacting WordPress directly through their provided channels to request this feature.
You may also be interested in the answer to the question: What is the recommended retention time for files uploaded to our website? Should older files be regularly deleted?
Q: Has your team embedded Microsoft Sway into WordPress pages?
A: The CAHNRS Communications web team has not received this request to-date. We recommend contacting Microsoft Sway directly for support on this issue.
Q: What 3rd party services are others using successfully for their web needs?
A: There is a much wider breadth of tools and services available for WordPress than could be captured in the Q&A space available.
As noted in our answer to the question Are samples of available WordPress website functionality available?, the CAHRNS Communications web team is planning to update our website with a list of recommended tools.
In addition, we’d be happy to provide a free consultation for you on selecting tools and services. Simply contact us with your needs by:
Q: I want to remove the double-click required for nested menu items (e.g., Section Title > Overview). What options do I have?
A: The left navigation in WSU themes (known as the “Spine”) was created by University Communications, and is part of WSU’s Brand structure.
The options for changing this include:
- Re-organizing your menu structure to remove “nested” or sub-menu items
- Contacting the University Communications web team via their Open Lab Sessions or via Slack to request the development of alternate navigation features.
Q: Is it possible to change the order of a slideshow on wordpress?
There are currently several different slideshow tools in use on CAHNRS and Extension websites, so if you are uncertain how to change the order, please reach out to us and provide a link to the page the slideshow is on by:
Q: What help is available to assist with program-specific websites?
A: CAHNRS Communications can support in a variety of ways, ranging from free training and consultation to paid design, content, and coding services.
Please contact us for a free consultation on the best options for your specific needs by:
Q: What is the recommended approach for designing and organizing a web page with lots of links and attachments?
A: We would recommend using a tool called an “accordion” which can be opened or closed to show or hide information. Browse a couple examples of using accordions to organize link- and attachment-heavy pages on our Virtual Office Hours page and the CAHNRS Faculty & Staff Resources Quick Links pages.
There are currently several different accordion tools in use on CAHNRS and Extension websites, so if you are uncertain how to create or modify these on your site, please reach out to us and provide a link to the page on which you’d like to implement the accordions by:
Q: How do we create or modify giving links which direct to a specific account on our website?
A: There are two parts to consider:
First, you need to have the actual website address for the tool which processes donations and directs the funds to the appropriate account. In most (if not all) cases, this is coordinated directly with the WSU Foundation.
Second, after you have the link, you can then add it to your website content, as you would any other link. In some cases, giving links are in the website interface. Instructions for updating those links (as needed) can be found here: How To Update Giving Links On Your Website.
Q: How do we add podcasts or audio files to our website?
A: WordPress has built-in tools for adding audio and a variety of other media types to your website.
The following links contain instructions for how to add audio (and other media):
If you have additional questions or needs on this, please reach out to us and provide a link to the page on which you’d like to add audio/podcasts by:
Q: What are the deadlines for adhering to WSU’s new accessibility (ADA) requirements
A: For the latest information on WSU’s accessibility (ADA) requirements, please refer to the WSU Central Web Team’s Web Accessibility page.
To support WSU’s accessibility (ADA) initiative, the CAHNRS Communications team has:
- proactively produced a recorded web accessibility training
- implemented accessibility audits for all new website projects
- included answering accessibility questions in the technical support we provide
- actively been updating our web technology (tools and design) for full compliance with the new requirements
As a reminder, the accessibility of web content is the responsibility of the web author(s) who currently create and manage content on their WSU websites.
Q: What training is available for adhering to WSU’s new accessibility (ADA) requirements?
A: For the latest resources and training information on WSU’s accessibility (ADA) requirements, please refer to the WSU Central Web Team’s Web Accessibility page.
In addition, the CAHNRS Communications team recently produced a recorded web accessibility training.
Q: Should I use new window links? How does this impact accessibility?
A: There are 3 reasons not to open a link into a new window or tab:
- Usability: Default behavior of a browser is to remain in the same tab, which allows the back button to work. Opening in a new tab breaks the back button’s functionality. This is one of the most used functions of a browser.
- Security: Unscrupulous people can inject a snippet of code on a link that opens in a new tab and cause havoc for users.
- Accessibility: Assistive devices do not necessarily tell users that a new tab has been opened when a user follows a link. This can leave the user stuck in the new tab, and it will take extra effort to get back to where they were.
Exceptions: I’ve only seen one case where opening into a new window is helpful. This is when the user needs information from the second window to use in the first window.
Watch the section on links from our web accessibility webinar. The link section starts at 10 minutes and 50 seconds.
Q: How can I ensure that videos and/or iframes on my page adhere to WSU’s new accessibility (ADA) requirements?
A: There are several things to consider with regard to accessibility and iframes. For embedding video, between YouTube and Vimeo, Vimeo is the better program to create an accessible embed on our site.
A video needs to have closed captioning to meet accessibility requirements. If you do not own the video and the video does not have closed captioning, then link off of your site to the video. Do not embed a video onto your site that does not have closed captioning.
We are actively working to ensure our video embed tools are updated for full compliance with the new requirements
Q: What is the optimal image format, size and compression for use on websites?
A: Optimizing images for low file size is essential to reducing website load time and consequently improving search engine optimization.
While the optimum criteria vary with each website’s design and content needs, it is generally best to use:
- format: compressed .jpg (or .jpeg)
- dimensions (in pixels): as small as possible
- compression: as large as possible
- such that: image file size is as small as possible without the the image looking too blurry or grainy on the page
As a rule of thumb, we generally suggest:
- For full-screen-width images: .jpg/.jpeg with 1366px width (1920px max), and 40–60% compression
- For in-content images: .jpg/.jpeg with width less than or equal to content area, and 15–40% compression
Q: How can I optimize the size of my website files?
A: Optimizing files for low file size is excellent for reducing website load time, improving user experience, and ultimately enhancing search engine optimization.
When creating or saving many common file formats (such as .pdfs or .jpgs), there are often options for reducing file size within the tools used to create or save the files. You can also search google or contact your local IT team for specific recommendations on less common file types.
Q: I am having trouble with staff photos and/or contact info, can you help?
A: CAHNRS Communications can definitely help you you with this.
Due to the variation in how these are set up across different websites, we’ll need the web address for the page you are having issues with. Please send this to us with any additional info about the problem by:
Q: What branding standards apply to my website project?
A: In most cases, the WSU Brand Standards are applicable. In addition, if the website relies on either Federal funding or serves students, it must meet WSU’s new web accessibility requirements.
In some cases, website project requirements dictate non-WSU-branded (e.g., Safflower Genetic Resources ) or multi-entity branded (e.g., Western Center for Metropolitan Extension & Research ) approaches.
Standards and requirements for these scenarios can be vague or uncertain, so feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help provide tools, resources, and guidance wherever we can: