About Those Site Maps

We’ve received a handful of questions about site maps — the third element in our requirements to officially kick off your office or department’s site construction — so I thought I’d take a minute to explain a little bit more about what we’re looking for.

The best way to do this is to follow an example, so I’ve included one here with additional, clarifying information below. The example is very short and includes only five web pages. Note two things:

1. The site map orders information in a logical way

2. The basic outline only includes pages and does not include additional detail until later in the document


So, as you’re putting together your site map, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Put your information in a place that makes sense

Don’t worry about how users actually get there; just think about where it lives. Want a high-profile way to draw users from your homepage to information about a particular scholarship? You probably need a Scholarships page in your Special Programs & Opportunities section, so put it on your site map — but don’t worry about your homepage content here. Answer the question, “Where does it live?,” not “How will people find it?”

It may help to think about this as a file structure. Identify the files you’re putting information in, and do it in a way that will help first-time users find what they’re looking for. Put pages in clearly labeled folders.

2. Keep your site map clean (additional detail comes later on)

You’ll want to be able to account for where all of your content goes, but that doesn’t mean every piece of content has to be shown on your site map.

Clarifying details aren’t bad — in fact, they’re quite good — but you should leave them out of your navigation. In our scholarship example from number 1 above, there’s no need to actually list the names of your scholarships in your site map. If it’s important to identify them, put them on page two.

You should end up with an at-a-glance, high-level view of the structure of your website. Make it easy to read, clean and clear. Make each page a bullet; make each child page a sub-bullet.

At the end of this process, we want a map that can be used as a blueprint for building individual pages. If it’s listed on the map, it becomes a page.

Fall dates for social media workshops

Digital StrategyPlease join us at our next social media workshop, Setting up for Social Media Engagementpresented by our Digital Strategist, Elizabeth Council.

Dates Offered:
November 10 and December 3
2-3:30 p.m. in Dewitt Herrick Room

Elizabeth will cover content from two of her most-popular summer sessions in one convenient workshop. Together we’ll explore:

  • What channels you should be using
  • How to set up accounts so they are branded properly and can be managed efficiently
  • Tips for managing multiple accounts
  • Basics and best practices for identifying your audience and sharing content
  • Simple tactics for starting a conversation and keeping your audience engaged
  • How to respond to criticism from fans and followers

Register to attend. 

Hope College Web Style Guide

BlogStyleGuideCoverDownload the Hope College Web Content Style Guide.

We’ve all been there: You’re working on your department website and you can’t remember how to spell that building name. And is it the Philosophy Department or the Department of Philosophy? How do I make one of those backward-facing apostrophes for taking the 1 and the 9 out of Class of 1996? What numbers do I spell out instead of using a numeral, anyway? Do I use a comma in this list?

Until now, Hope College has just kind of winged it (wung it?). Every department and office has done its own thing, which is exactly what you’d expect; there hasn’t been a standard style that would allow users from all across campus to write in a unified voice. It’s one of the reasons the content on our old site has been sort of all over the place.

But when we write for our department or office, we’re really writing for Hope College. The style we use is an important part of our brand. So Public Affairs and Marketing has put together a Web Content Style Guide for Hope that will help answer your questions and ensure that every part of the website is using a consistent style.

We’ll be adding to and expanding this guide, and we’ll make new files available regularly. Of course, we encourage you to print a copy and have it within easy reach whenever you sit down to write for the Hope College website.

The truth is, I sort of nerd out on grammar and style. I’m more excited about this than I should be. So I’m going to share a couple of points that explain how I personally think about grammar and style. (I’ve picked these up from others along the way; they aren’t original to me.)

1. Grammar and style are practical ways of loving your neighbor.

As Christians, we’re called to love our neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). It’s one of the great commandments (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). And one important way to love our neighbor is to make sure that when we speak to her, we do so in a way that she understands. To communicate with a person in a manner that is difficult or impossible to understand is an unloving act.

This approach does two interesting things:

  1. It puts a high priority on grammatical standards. Words, thoughts, sentences, paragraphs — yes, web content — should behave in expected ways that reinforce common conventions and meaning. I can’t put a comma at the end of a sentence and expect my reader to behave as if it’s a period. Shared rules of grammar exist to help make meaning clear.
  2. It places a higher priority on our reader’s ability to comprehend than on obeying every jot and tittle of the rules of grammar. This isn’t grammatical legalism. If your content is grammatically correct but difficult for your reader to understand, then you owe it to him as an act of Christian love to bend the rules of grammar — including those rules in the Hope College style guide — so he better understands you.

2. Grammar and style are questions of manners, not morals.

I speak differently to my grandmother — more politely, with greater deference and propriety — than to, say, my friends while we’re out on the town. In the same way, there is a time and a place to be a little more proper with our style and grammar (I’m thinking of formal communications, letters to the Board of Trustees, emails to President Knapp) than in other places (e.g., emails to coworkers, blog posts like this one).

It’s bad form to show up at a black-tie event wearing your swim trunks, flip-flops and a hoodie. But it’s equally bad form to show up at the neighborhood block party and pig roast in a three-piece suit. The question isn’t right or wrong; it’s appropriate or inappropriate — and answering that question depends largely on considerations that can’t be addressed by Mssrs. Strunk, White and Webster.

To sum up:

Know your audience, tailor your style in a way that is respectful to your audience and appropriate to your environment, and make your meaning clear. All grammar and style hangs on these commandments.

Improvements to the Directory

Many of you have told us that you love the new Directory! If you haven’t checked it out yet, the Directory pulls together information about academic departments, campus offices, buildings, and faculty/staff in one place. Better yet, all of the information on the Directory is fed from our institutional database, to ensure updates and accuracy.

There is a “Search the directory” bar at the top of the page, which filters content within the Directory as you type. Today, we’ve rolled out some improvements to the functionality of the Directory search/filter to show more accurate results based on what you type.

So please, check it out, and let us know what you think!

Training for OU Campus users

Ready to start working on your department or office website? So are we! This month, we will begin connecting with every area of the college to plan, build and launch new sections of the website throughout the academic year.

Here are the steps required for your department or office to get started:

  1. Attend an OU Campus User Training session
  2. Attend a Writing for the Web session
  3. Draft a proposed site map
  4. Schedule a review with Public Affairs and Marketing to begin working on your site


These two-hour sessions will provide an introduction to our content management system, OU Campus, and will give users hands-on training in creating and editing web pages.

User training is required for everyone in your department who will be performing hands-on maintenance of your website. However, space is limited to 20 computers per session; groups from the same department or office will be asked to share a workstation.

UPDATE: Fall registration is now closed. Additional training sessions will be available monthly in the spring semester.

For those who have already registered, the following trainings will take place in Martha Miller Computer Lab 240:

  • Tuesday, September 29, 10 a.m.–noon (FULL — registration is closed)
  • Tuesday, October 20, 1–3 p.m. (FULL — registration is closed)
  • Thursday, November 19, 1:30–3:30 p.m. (FULL — registration is closed)


If you already attended an earlier Writing for the Web session, you do not need to attend again. If you haven’t, please sign up online for one of the following sessions:

  • Tuesday, October 13, 1–2 p.m.
  • Monday, November 2, 2–3 p.m.

Both trainings will take place in DeWitt Herrick Room.

Additional sessions will be available in the spring semester.


Site maps will be discussed during the Writing for the Web training. A content checklist is available for departments and offices to begin planning.


Once you’ve completed the first three steps, let us know! We’ll schedule a meeting to review your site map, answer any questions and begin building your website.

Thanks, and please let us know if you have any questions!

Submitting Events to the Public Website Calendar

Our website features a new campus calendar, calendar.hope.edu. Following are some tips and steps to follow to help promote your events.

  1. Begin by making your campus room reservation through EMS (events.hope.edu). Here you can request catering, AV, video services, a specific setup, etc.
  2. In EMS, you can now request to have your event display on the campus calendar.
    “Would you like this event to display on the Hope College public calendar?”
    If so, select Yes.
    Include any descriptive text that should appear on the web in the “Event Details” section of the room reservation.
  3. Approved events typically appear on the campus calendar in 1-2 business days.


  • Add your event to the calendar early for maximum visibility.
  • List all of your events on the calendar, even if attendance is not open to the public. If your event is invite-only, however, do not make your calendar listing accessible to the public.
  • Each event has a unique web address that can be shared on social media or linked in an email.
  • Promote your event by adding a custom photo. Email your photo to calendar@hope.edu.
  • List your official off-campus event or events that span multiple days or locations by contacting calendar@hope.edu for details on this process.


  • For assistance with room reservations, contact Events & Conferences (events@hope.edu, 616.395.7222).
  • Questions about the campus calendar or edits to events that are already published should be sent to Public Affairs & Marketing (calendar@hope.edu, 616.395.7860).

Many events are already listed in the calendar. Please help us by checking to make sure that your events are listed accurately and let us know about any changes.

Announcing “Stories of Hope”

Dear Hope Community,
I hope your fall semester has gotten off to a spectacular start!

I am writing to let you know about a new Hope blog, “Stories of Hope,” that was launched last week. Focusing on scholarship and innovation here at Hope College, the blog will provide another way to share stories that reflect our academic distinctiveness, as expressed inside and outside the classroom, lab and studio.

We thought you might have questions, so we’ve tried to anticipate and answer a few:

  • Why a blog? Traditionally, Hope has shared its stories through news releases and “News from Hope College.” These are great channels of communication, but often we are able to reach different/expanding audiences more effectively or in a more timely manner through web-based communications. The blog, which can be promoted to wide audiences via social media, will share stories that might not lend themselves to the news release or magazine format.
  • What will the posts look like? Posts on “Stories of Hope” will vary. In some cases, the posts will be feature-length stories. Other times, the posts will be brief pieces that link to news on the Hope website (or other sites). And sometimes, the post might be a video, a single photograph, a book review or a guest-written post. We’ll aim to publish at least one post per week.
  • How can I help? Spread the word! Follow the blog, and share the posts with friends and colleagues via social media, email or your departmental website. “Stories of Hope” will be the most effective when it is broadly read by many audiences. You also can help by sending us your suggestions…
  • How can I suggest a story? You’ve got great story ideas. We want to hear them — and tell them, whether it’s through “Stories of Hope” or another channel! Submit your story ideas to stories@hope.edu. Once the Public Affairs and Marketing team receives your suggestion, we’ll identify the communication mode and timeframe that best fits your story.
  • Why is the blog called “Stories of Hope”? Because, well, we shouldn’t hesitate to tell our story! We believe in our mission: to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith. And, we believe in the importance of recognizing the work that goes into supporting that mission. “Stories of Hope” will highlight the academic component of our mission, and in doing so, will illustrate how we prepare students to lead, serve and make a difference in the world.

We are excited to hear your ideas and your feedback. Thank you for all you do to bring Hope’s mission to life!