Office of Marketing and Brand Management

Website Governance Policy

A staff member using a laptopThe Office of Marketing and Brand Management is responsible for oversight of the University's web presence, ensuring it meets web best practices, brand standards, and contains relevant and accurate content.

The University of Southern Maine (USM) website is our #1 recruitment tool, leading prospective students of all ages through the recruitment funnel. It is also the most visible representation of USM and is often the first impression many people have of the University. This document will provide clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of those Content Management System (CMS) users who update and maintain the USM website. Website governance refers to people, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines that govern the creation and maintenance of our official website.

Note: This is a working document that will need to evolve to meet the needs of the University and the ever-changing dynamics of the web platform.

  • Audience-centric. Similar to USM's core service promise of "Student-focused every day," we ensure the website content and user experience is focused on the needs of our audiences rather than internal department structures and processes.
  • Scannable. We will use language that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Content will be written in short paragraphs with headings, subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists, accordions, and anchor links as needed.
  • Mobile-first. With mobile usage constantly on the rise, we consider the mobile experience before the desktop experience. Our website is responsive, which means it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device used (smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) to view the website.
  • Forward-thinking. We will strive to stay up-to-date with current web technology, trends, and best practices.
  • Relevant and accurate. As much as possible, we will avoid outdated or incorrect content, and our content will be free of typos, broken links, and missing images.
  • Media-optimized. We will strive to use only images and video that are optimized for the web and meet our brand standards.
  • Brand-focused. Our brand is not just a logo. Our brand has a voice that communicates who we are as a University and our values. Web content needs to consistently reinforce USM's brand to all audiences.
  • Develop and uphold high standards for website content and policies based on industry best practices.
  • Ensure the University brand is represented in a consistent and high-quality manner.
  • Ensure website content is accurate, professional, and portrays the University as a leading institution of higher education that delivers academic excellence.
  • Deliver a high-quality user experience for our primary audience of prospective students while keeping key audiences such as existing students, alumni, and the community top of mind.

Website Management Roles

CMS User

A CMS user is anyone that has access to the CMS. CMS users typically have access to specific Groups. Examples of Groups include your department, school, college, or project subsite.

The CMS user roles include Publisher, Editor, Catalog Manager, and Catalog Admin:

  • Publisher: A CMS Publisher can create, save, and publish content on the website. As a CMS Publisher, you will be required to take more frequent training since you have a higher level of responsibility to the website.
  • Editor: A CMS Editor can create and save content in the CMS. However, they do not have access to Publish content on the USM website. Once an Editor's content is ready for review, the Editor contacts the appropriate subsite Publisher to review, approve, and publish the content.
  • Catalog Roles: The Catalog has specific processes, stages, and timelines. The Catalog Managers and Admin are trained in how to create and maintain the Catalog.
    • Catalog Manager
      • 1-3 Catalog Managers per College.
      • Catalog Managers are designated by the Catalog Admin.
      • Edits or approves content for all departments in their college during specific stages of the process.
    • Catalog Admin
      • A special CMS role designed for the Registrar.
      • Edits/creates/publishes catalog content in all departments, as well as pending and published catalogs, during any stage of the process.
      • Publishes the final catalog.

Content Coordinator

Some departments require a Content Coordinator that does not have access to the CMS, but is the liaison between Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and Editors and Publishers. This role is more of a project management role to ensure website updates occur regularly.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

SMEs have a deep understanding of the content on a particular web page or subsite. They are responsible for providing relevant and accurate information to Content Coordinators, Editors, and Publishers.

Subsite Owner

The Subsite Owner is the person responsible for a subsite. Typically, this is the Head of Department, Dean, Chair, or project lead.

Web Advisory Committee

Web Advisory Committee members represent the colleges, schools, administrative departments, governing bodies, and academic departments of the University:

  • Admissions
  • Advising
  • Athletics
  • Auxiliary Services
  • Career & Employment Hub
  • Classified Staff Senate Chair
  • Deans
  • Disability Services
  • Faculty Senate Chair
  • Graduate Council Chair
  • Graduate Studies
  • Human Resources
  • IT (USM)
  • Libraries
  • Marketing
  • Professional Staff Senate Chair
  • Provost Office
  • Public Affairs
  • Registration Services
  • Residential Life
  • Student Involvement & Activities
  • Student Body President
  • USM Foundation

The Web Advisory Committee will meet on a quarterly basis and be responsible for the following:

  • Providing feedback on web policies and procedures and major design or structural changes.
  • Communicating web changes to your staff and others as appropriate, including the rationale for those changes.
  • Informing Marketing and Brand Management of any changes in our organization that may affect the website. 

UMS IT

UMS IT is responsible for the ongoing technical maintenance, security, support, and development of the web CMS platform, working closely with the web team.

Web team

The web team is part of the Office of Marketing and Brand Management and is responsible for establishing the web governance policy. We use a semi-distributed model for content development and publishing –– some content is completely maintained by the web team and some content is managed by trained CMS users across the University. The web team will edit content as needed for clarity and accuracy; to fix grammar, spelling, and broken links; and to ensure consistency and adherence to brand standards.

All CMS users must complete CMS training before access will be provided. To request a new user or to change the access level for a user, please complete a request.

Undergraduate and graduate students

All students –– including work study students, interns, and graduate assistants –– who create content on our website are given Editor access once they have completed CMS training. Students who request Publisher access will need to be approved by the web team. There must be one staff or faculty member that is ultimately responsible for any content published by a student.

Faculty and staff

Determine if you need CMS access to make regular edits to your subsite and receive ongoing training or if you are a Subject Matter Expert (SME) that can provide content direction to Editors and Publishers of your subsite. It is possible to be both a SME and an Editor or Publisher.

Consultants and other third parties

Access will not be granted to consultants and other third parties unless approved by the web team.

As mentioned in the 04. Web Access Policy section, new users are required to complete CMS training before we will grant access to the USM website. Ongoing training may also be required in order to maintain your access.

The Online CMS Manual is a great source of best practices and step-by-step instructions.

Content on the website should consistently reflect the USM brand. To better understand our policies for written and visual content — including the USM voice, web writing standards, as well as image and video quality and permissions — please refer to our Brand Guidelines.

Website accessibility affects 57 million Americans. A website is accessible if people with disabilities can understand, navigate, and interact with our website. Website Accessibility Standards ensure those with disabilities receive the same level of information that a person without disabilities receives.

The University of Maine System (UMS) has taken steps to begin meeting WCAG 2.0 level A and level AA requirements. The UMS Information and Communications Technology Accessibility Policy on web accessibility was developed by the Information Technology Accessibility Committee (ITAC).

On our website, the largest accessibility issue we have is the use of PDFs, which are typically not accessible. In many cases, PDFs can be replaced by webforms or other web content. If you need help or guidance, please complete a request.

PDF forms

Since PDFs are typically not accessible for those with disabilities, PDF forms should be avoided whenever possible. Check with the web team to see if there is another format that would work well for your form.

CMS webforms

CMS webforms can be used to collect information through the USM website. Please be advised, UMS prohibits the collection of Compliant Data –– i.e., information which the University is legally obligated to protect such as social security numbers, educational, financial, or health records –– via CMS webforms on the USM website.

If you have any questions about the data you wish to collect, please complete a request.

Salesforce forms

Salesforce forms must be used for capturing prospective student information. Examples include event registration forms, requests for more information, other inquiries, etc. If you need to create a form that will capture prospective student information, please complete a request.

Google forms

As needed, Google forms can be used to capture information of students, faculty, staff, and other audiences. However, the forms should follow USM brand standards so be sure to refer to our Brand Book. Please be advised, UMS prohibits the collection of Compliant Data in Google forms as well. If you have any questions for the web team, please complete a request.

  • Redirects are often needed for long URLs that need to be printed on marketing material. For instance, rather than using the full URL usm.maine.edu/office-of-admissions/open-house-adult-transfer-and-graduate-students, we could have usm.maine.edu/openhouse redirect to the longer URL. Then usm.maine.edu/openhouse could be used on a postcard to prospective adult, transfer, and graduate students.
  • Subdomains are strictly monitored by UMS and are generally discouraged for branding purposes –– particularly since usm.maine.edu itself is a subdomain.
  • Third-party websites are completely separate from the USM website and are typically hosted elsewhere. A few examples are the Southern Maine Huskies and Alumni websites. If a third-party site is approved, the web team will work with you on branding the site appropriately.

If you are interested in a redirect, subdomain, or third-party website, please complete a request for approval. 

We use Google Analytics to gain detailed insights on our website traffic including how many people visit our website, the average time spent on particular pages, and the percentage of people who immediately leave. We use these insights to make strategic decisions.

While we do not have the resources to provide training, we can provide access to Google Analytics to view your subsite traffic. If you would like access to Google Analytics, please contact Chris Iyer.

Operating under a continuous improvement model of development, the CMS is updated regularly with new features, improvements, bug fixes, and/or general maintenance. New releases occur monthly while additional hotfixes that do not require a release occur as needed.

If you have any questions about the Website Governance Policy, please contact Andrea Tripp, Associate Director of Web Marketing.