What is ISU Sites?

ISU Sites (sites.iastate.edu) is a Websites-as-a-Service platform for Iowa State University. It allows faculty members to quickly create a professional website that conforms to university marketing standards and complies with digital accessibility guidelines.

Development of this platform has been guided by faculty focus groups. Development is supported by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Information Technology Services. See a log of recent platform updates.

What is Sites+?

Sites+ is the advanced platform our team uses to build websites for departments, programs, centers, colleges, and other units within CALS or LAS at Iowa State University. All websites created in Sites+ are built to meet your unit's specific needs, including popular features such as People Profiles, Projects, News, Events, and a customized homepage. Sites+ websites also receive ongoing support from our team after launch.

Units like those listed above can request a Sites+ website from us by emailing websupport@iastate.edu, and we will schedule a consultation where we can meet and assess your needs, timeline, and the best way to create the site you're looking for.

How do I make a site?

Go to sites.iastate.edu, log in with your ISU NetID and follow the instructions. Or, follow along with our Quick Start Guide.

What is the difference between Simple, Advanced, and Full Scale websites?

See this handy comparison table.

How do I fill out my profile?

See our complete tutorial: Edit your Homepage Profile

Can I see website analytics to see who is visiting my site?

Every site comes with built-in website traffic analytics

I would like to share a large research data set from my site. Can I?

Absolutely. Contact datashare@iastate.edu to find out how to use DataShare, Iowa State University's open research data repository. Once the data set is published on DataShare, you can simply link to it from your site.

I copy-pasted content into my site. Why are the images on my site broken?

Because of the way the world wide web works, standard copy and paste will not work to move images and files to your new website (though copy and paste will work fine for text). If you did not know this, take a look at the fixing pasted images and files tutorial which explains how to move images and files to your new website, how to tell if your images and files will break, and how to fix them.

Can I delegate editing of my site to my postdoc/grad student?

If you choose to create an Advanced or Full Scale website, you can give access and assign permissions to trusted people.

I am not a faculty member. May I still create a site?

Currently, sites are for faculty members only. Most staff already have a presence on the website of the ISU unit they serve. If you are a staff member, please ask your local IT support group what options are available for you. If you need a website and are in CALS or LAS, please contact the web team at websupport@iastate.edu to see if you need our Sites+ option.

If you are a graduate student or postdoc and the faculty member you are associated with has a site, the faculty member may delegate permissions for you to edit your Profile page on their site. It is to your advantage to have your information on a faculty member site as it gives you more exposure, includes your information in search results and provides context for your role at the university.

If you are a student who is looking for a platform to showcase your work, a platform like Github (for more technical majors) or LinkedIn may be a good choice.

I want to log into my new site from my Okta dashboard!

Sure! You can set that up with a few clicks by following the steps on Make an Okta button to log in. This is handy but optional; you can always log in to your site by going to sites.iastate.edu.

Can I create links that open in a new tab or window?

Current research indicates that it is not good practice to open links in a new tab.

  1. Opening a new tab or window is actually an unexpected behavior for most people. Browsers are built with the ability to right-click on a link to open it in a new tab. When a link auto-opens a new tab without being told to, that is an unexpected behavior. Essentially the action requires taking over the functionality of one's web browser, which feels to many people like someone grabbing the steering wheel while you are driving.
  2. Security purposes. The link code that opens in a new window is vulnerable to being hijacked; this is a longstanding vulnerability in web browsers.
  3. Users with accessibility issues who are using screen readers, screen magnifiers, and users with certain cognitive impairments can become disoriented when they are taken to a new window.
  4. Opening in a new tab or window disables the Back button in the browser. People expect to be able to use their back button to go back (in this case, back to your site!).

We are learning that the scales are tipping and fewer and fewer websites are allowing for this behavior for usability and security concerns.

What happened to public.iastate.edu?

public.iastate.edu gave faculty and staff members of ISU the ability to create and edit their own website, but over time the service was phased out as better tools and practices became available. The closing of the service was initially publicized for May 2019, but delayed to May 2020 to allow users to move their content to another service. Read more about the closure of public.iastate.edu here. As of May 31, 2020, public.iastate.edu and all of the sites within are no longer available. Faculty members who need to create a new website should use the platform at sites.iastate.edu.

When did ISU Sites become available?

ISU Sites launched on November 15, 2018.

How do I report a problem?

If you need help using ISU Sites or feedback to share, please contact websupport@iastate.edu.