NC State
CNR Internal Resources

Best Practices

Add metadata to your page

Your page will be found easier by search engines if you provide good metadata to describe your page. Part of doing this is providing keywords and a description for your page. To do this in Contribute you just have to enter a comma separated list of keywords as well as a brief sentence or two to describe your page under the “Keywords and Description” area. To enter this information on your page, first click on the “Edit Page” button in the top-left corner, then:

Step 1:

Select “Keywords and Description” from the Format menu.

 

Step 2:

Enter in your keywords and description in the box that appears. Make sure your keywords, description and content of the page itself all match closely. See this excellent article for more tips on optimizing your page for search engines.

 

Add breadcrumbs

Most pages in the CNR domain have what are known as “breadcrumbs” see the breadcrumbs circled below.

 

When adding new pages you must make sure to update the breadcrumbs section. Breadcrumbs tell a user where they have been and where they are right now. It is a form of navigating through a site. Without accurate breadcrumbs users will not be able to rely on their usefulness throughout the site.

Adding links to internal pages

When you add a link to an internal page it is always better to “Browse” or “Choose” the file you are looking for in the Insert Link window. This is always better than typing in the URL to avoid potential mis-match issues.

Naming Convention Rules

Always title every page following conventions

Every page that you create should have a descriptive title that follows a certain naming convention. This is for a few reasons:

  1. It allows search engines to find your page easier
  2. It gives organization to our site
  3. Provides context for users
  4. Titles are the default when you bookmark a page
  5. Folks who have visual impairments will benefit from a descriptive title.

Here is the general naming convention for titles:

“Title of Current Page | Name of Unit”

This might look like “Alumni and Friends | College of Natural Resources” or “Faculty and Staff Directory | Department of Forest Biomaterials”

Important: Note that this is for the title of a page, which is not on the actual content of the page – you only see this in the very top of the browser you are using in.

Always use proper file names when creating new pages

In general there a few guidelines to follow when creating new pages as far as what the actual file will be called. (Note: this is the filename like index.htm, not the Title of the page)

First: if you are starting a new folder/directory, the first page will always be “index.html”, “index.html” or “index.php”.  Which to choose depends on what your site’s file naming convention is.  Just use the filename ending that the rest of the pages on your site are using.

This is so that this page will show up as the default when someone opens up the directory from a browser. Browsers know to always look for index.* when being directed to a directory.

Second: only use lowercase letters.

Third: do not use spaces, instead if you need to use a space you can use the underscore character (“_”)

Fourth: try to keep file names relatively short, you can abbreviate when necessary.

Fifth: don’t use anything other than letters and numbers.  No periods, commas or any other special character.

Here are examples of good file names:

  • newsletter.htm
  • cnr_commencement.htm
  • ms_degree.htm

The following are unacceptable file names:

  • NewsLetter.htm
  • CNR Commencement.htm
  • M.S. Degree.htm

So please keep this in mind – no spaces, no uppercase letters, no periods, no commas, etc. Only lowercase letters and underscores.

Tips!

  • To get the most out of the rollbacks feature, please make more than one change to a page at a time!
  • Hit F12 or “File > Preview in browser” to view your draft as it will look published.
  • If you are uploading an image or pdf, try to compress for use on the web. This will help reduce load time for people with slower internet connections.
  • Please make it a habit to spell-check and correct the pages in your folder.
  • Add ALT attribute text to new/existing images.
  • When inserting/checking links, use “Default” as the target frame if the page stays within the site (link will open within the same window); use “New Window” if the link goes outside of the site (including NCSU or other department pages).

Troubleshooting

Error: “Can’t post because the system says that someone else is reviewing”

  • “When I try to edit this page, Contribute warns me that someone else is reviewing a draft of that page. But, my draft console doesn’t show that any drafts are out. When I talked to the person who Contribute said was working on a draft he/she said that that was not the case”

It could be that the page became locked in this mode because a machine shut down in the middle of working in Contribute, or it could be something else going on. Either way, if this situation is happening to you, contact us and an administrator will assist.

Error: “You cannot edit this page because wasn’t found on the website or it is a directory listing”

This is likely a result of some part of the URL not being acceptable to Contribute. Contribute can be finicky in what it will accept as a proper Web address. One common example here is the presence/absence of the “www”.

Typically the safest way to ensure you are getting to the page you want to edit is to use the sites navigation. It is a good idea to fix any URLs you do find that are pointing to a resource that Contribute is having trouble finding.

Seeing lots of weird orange warning messages when I hit F12 to preview

This is something that can happen when you try to preview a page that ends in .php. Those orange areas are places where dynamic content is being drawn upon. So, for example, if you are working on a page that is enabled to work with TownCrier you will see this. As bad as it looks, you can safely ignore it.

Target frame changes don’t take

The problem – you try to insert a new link and change the target frame in one step. However when you go to publish your change the target frame change appears to not have changed.

This is a glitch with the Contribute software. The best workaround is this:

  1. first insert a link and click Ok (don’t change the target frame)
  2. then highlight the link you just created, right-click it and choose “Link Properties”
  3. then change the Target frame to “New Window” and hit Ok

The change will take if you take this additional step.