Web Content Guidelines

The Fitchburg State University website is managed by Marketing and Integrated Communications and we rely on departments and offices to provide input for your areas of expertise. Marketing has full access to the website and its content. We are responsible for adding, updating and removing content across the site. We reserve the right to remove material/content that violates these guidelines and disable links as appropriate.

The resources on this page will help ensure that your pages feature high-quality content while also meeting branding guidelines.


Access and Roles

  • Marketing has full access to the website.
  • Academic department administrators have access to faculty profiles. 
  • Athletics, Student Development, and Career Services have access to enter events that will be reviewed and approved by Marketing.
  • Only members of a department can request changes to their own department pages.

Submitting Content

  • The web content request form MUST be utilized to submit edits/additions. This allows us to track all content edits and provide you with efficient and effective service. 
  • When submitting requests, clearly state or highlight the edits/additions you want made to the page. If you need to attach a document to your web content request to provide edits attach a text-only unformatted document. All text should be edited for grammar and spelling prior to submission.
  • Include all relevant content. All content should be interesting and relevant to Fitchburg State University’s audiences, both external and internal. Include all necessary information about a subject. If some important information is undetermined or unknown, state all known facts and provide a timeframe during which the other information will be added. Omit all non-relevant content.
  • Redundancy of content not allowed. Do not recreate content that already exists on another page; instead, link to the relevant page. This will help avoid conflicting and outdated information.
  • PDFs - must include title and author (Fitchburg State University) in the file properties.
    • When submitting PDFs for the website it is important that you make them accessible. IT has created a video and slides to help with this process. 
    • When possible, and preferably, content from PDFs will be added to the site as HTML directly to the page.
    • Internal PDFs should not open in a new window. 
    • External PDFs should open in a new window.
  • Existing media files on the website should be overwritten with updated files for the same purpose. For example, the Admissions organization chart media/6763 should be overwritten and updated with a new updated version of the Admissions org chart. Do not create a new media file since one already exists but only replace with the same file not a different file for a different purpose. In that case create a new media file for the new file with a new purpose.
  • Uploading WORD or EXCEL files to our website is discouraged - PDFs and/or Google docs are preferred and more accessible.
  • Dynamic Forms or Google Forms are preferred over PDFs or MS Word forms.
  • When entering stories make sure they have a unique date as to populate in the correct order on the site under Our Stories.

Spelling, Grammar, and Abbreviations

Grammar and spelling must be perfect. The use of abbreviations should follow the AP Stylebook. You can subscribe to The Associated Press Stylebook online, find out about purchasing hard copies of the book or reference this AP cheat sheet.

  • Simple sentence structure - Write simply for the best comprehension for the user.
  • Paragraphs - Smaller paragraphs are easier to skim than larger paragraphs. Separate long blocks of copy into smaller paragraphs, each describing one topic or idea. Several short paragraphs are preferable to one long one.
  • Bulleted content is encouraged and more easily read. 

Timely Updates

Please review the content on your pages periodically to be sure all content, including dates and calendar events are current.

When possible, only add the day, July 1, as a deadline versus July 1, 2022. This will keep the content timely and not quickly outdated especially when it is the same day each year or semester.  

Example from International Admission Priority Deadline: The final deadline for Fall Semester applications is July 1. The final deadline for completed applications (all materials submitted) for Spring Semester admission is December 1.

Page Titles

A title should clearly, concisely, and completely describe the page’s content. The title will appear on top of the page, in the site navigation menu, and in the website breadcrumbs. Each page should have a unique title to distinguish it from others on the website.

  • Use simple and commonly used terminology. Avoid abbreviations, wordplay and academic jargon. Do not use department slogans or marketing phrases as page titles. All titles must be created with the title case.



Graduation Requirements

Things needed for graduating

Student Conduct Policies

SU Policies

Veteran Student Services


Contact an Advisor


Page Organization

Website visitors skim the page until they find the information they are looking for. Proper organization of a page’s content will increase usability and improve reader comprehension.

  • Important Information First - Always put the most important information first. Important details should be second. Background information and information that pertains to a limited number of people should be last.
  • Logical Content Flow - Page content should be organized in a logical and consistent fashion. For example, organize content by subject, by time, or by the audience. Organize content in a way that will make sense to the target audience.

Voice and Tone Standards 

Active voice:
    “We started the process” not “The process was begun”
Write to “you” as the audience not “the student”

Styles and Appearance 

Consistent look, feel, and function improves usability and presents Fitchburg State as a unified organization. 

  • Design elements are built into Drupal, our CMS (content management system).
  • Use italics to indicate book titles and magazine titles.
  • Use bold to emphasize points or bring attention to key phrases.
  • Do not use UPPERCASE for anything except abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Use headings H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 in order on pages, always start with H2. It is important to note that headings have implicit styling attached to them (font size, font weight, margins). However, headings should be used for page structure ONLY, and not as a shortcut to change font size. Using heading levels correctly is important both for search engines accurately determining page content and to provide structure for screen readers and other assistive technologies.
  • Phone numbers should be entered with periods not dashes i.e. 978.665.3219
  • Do not use the ampersand (&); write out the word and.
  • Caution when copy and pasting from another source (Word, email bodies, etc.). In almost all cases, copy and pasting into the WYSIWYG editor will not create proper HTML. The pasted content will contain "junk code such as &nbsp;</span> " - HTML that is extra/unnecessary/incorrect added from the software you are copying from. 
  • It is recommended you clean text by copy and pasting into Notepad before inserting in Drupal.
    Example source code of text copied from word: <p><span><span><span>In 2017 Vin was granted his Italian citizenship and traces his roots to Casale in Abruzzo and Campolieto in the Molise region.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></p>
    Example source code of text copied from Notepad: <p>In 2017 Vin was granted his Italian citizenship and traces his roots to Casale in Abruzzo and Campolieto in the Molise region.</p>


  • Lists are easier to skim and understand than paragraphs. Use them when describing a series or a list of steps to be taken.
  • Each block of content should be preceded by a descriptive heading. Headings should be used to give the copy structure and to help navigation.

Images, Visuals and Videos

  • Images should be at least 1 MB for best image quality.
  • 100 MB limit
  • Allowed types: png, gif, jpg, jpeg
  • Alt text should be used to convey the meaning and describe image for accessibility.
  • SmugMug can be used to view our latest photos and videos from around campus.
  • Standards for submission of visuals for the web must be created by Print Services and contain the university logo.
  • When embedding a video or slideshow in WYSIWYG be sure to add a descriptive title in the HTML source code. And also add this in the javascript footer: <script async="async" defer="defer" src="https://www.youvisit.com/tour/Embed/js3"></script> 
    Then the embed code in the source code: <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="600" scrolling="no" src="https://fitchburg-state-university.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=DQhM…" title="Nursing Students" width="800"></iframe></p>
  • Videos should be closed captioned for accessibility. The owner should be a department not an individual. IT has created instructions to help with this process of transferring ownership of a file from an individual to a department account.


  • Disclaimer: Our website may contain links to external websites that are not operated or maintained by Fitchburg State University. The university does not control, endorse, or assume any responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party websites. The inclusion of any link does not imply Fitchburg State University's endorsement of other linked content to the institutional website.
  • For internal links always link to the node versus inserting a hyperlink. This will help when a page URL changes and a redirect is not created or accidentally gets deleted the link will stay intact. 
  • Link text should use words that briefly convey what the person will access if they click the link. Example: To view more information about Fitchburg State University's COVID-19 response, please visit our Coronavirus information page.
  • When linking to emails it's best practice to use the email address Example: Contact us by email at alfa@fitchburgstate.edu or call 978.665.3706.
  • Don’t use click here or more or the URL as link text. 
  • Don’t use the same link text on the same page to link to different pages. Always use unique link text.
  • External site links outside of fitchburgstate.edu (like National Center on Deafness) should open in a new window.
  • Internal links (on fitchburgstate.edu) should not open in a new window. 
  • When requesting for files to be shared on the university website it is imperative that they be submitted with a department as the owner of the file and not an individual. This helps to eliminate potential broken links on the site. IT has created instructions to help with this process of transferring ownership of a file from an individual to a department account.

Archive Content

At its discretion, the marketing department may archive old content such as events, news stories, etc. to clean up the website and improve search functionality.

File Storage Limits 

The information in this website is primarily intended for prospective students. Any other information that is not required by accrediting bodies should be distributed and maintained on other platforms.