Self-Service Quick Start Guide

Self-Service Pathway Video

What do we mean when we say a site is self-service? It means you or your department is responsible for rebuilding your website on the new YaleSites platform. The YaleSites team provides tools for you to build and maintain an accessible, Yale-branded website—no advanced technical skills required.

This quick-start guide will introduce you to the steps for a successful rebuild of your website.

Step 1: Prepare your website content

Familiarize yourself with our website resources and trainings

We have many tools to help you prepare for your website rebuild on the new platform. We recommend taking the following trainings in the order listed below:

Depending on the needs of your website, you make also want to take:

The following resources may be helpful for a quick overview or refresh of topics:

Evaluate your website content

Now that you know what needs to happen on your site, you can start evaluating your content. Your efforts may vary depending on the needs of your website and department, but you may begin work on:

  • Reviewing site analytics
  • Completing a content audit of your existing site
  • Creating a new site map, if applicable
  • Completing a content matrix, if applicable

Give yourself time and grace to complete this work. This is going to be a big effort, but it will set you up for a solid foundation for your site rebuild and beyond.

Create and edit your content

With your content and website plan in place, you can start writing and editing content, preparing imagery, and more! The training you took will prepare you for completing this work in an organized and impactful way.

Step 2: Request your new site

Fill out “Request a YaleSite” form

Before you can begin working, you will need a new site. The “Request a YaleSite” form on the Yale IT Service Portal will collect some basic information about your website requirements, and a new site will be created for you.

Your new site will have placeholder “on-demand” content and blocks to start. This placeholder content is educational and will give you a good overview of how to create website content, as well as generate ideas for how you may want to lay out your pages.

Step 3. Build your new site

Development vs. Production sites

When you first receive your new site, it will still be in its development, or “dev” state. A dev site is not findable on the internet and is not indexed by search engines, which provides a private place to build your site.

Your dev site will have a unique and obscure URL ( to differentiate it from your live site (

When work on your site is complete and you are ready to make your site public, you can submit a “Go Live” request, which will create a Production, or “prod” version of your site. This is the version of your site available to the general public. You can read more about the launch process for your site in Step 4: Launching your new site.

Once your site has been built and live, a dev site is not needed for publishing further content changes. Routine content changes or additions can be performed directly on your production site. Staging content changes in dev and publishing with a go-live request should be reserved for major content changes or site rebuilds. However, the dev environment will continue to be available to you if needed. If your dev site becomes out-of-date in relation to your live site, you can submit a “Refresh my Yalesite” request to bring it up to date with the state of your production site.

YaleSites Drupal 10 platform training

Once you have your new dev site to work on, there are various trainings that will help you feel more comfortable on the new platform. We recommend taking:

Other ways to get help

We understand creating your new site is a big journey, and you may have other questions throughout the process. Reach out to us at with any questions.

Step 4. Launch your new site

Before launching your site, it’s a good idea to give your content a final review and make sure everything is complete, polished, and presentable. Make sure links work, that your content meets Yale’s accessibility requirements, and that things look the way they should.

If possible, get SiteImprove set up on your dev site prior to launch, so that the automated usability and accessibility tools can catch things you may have overlooked. For more information on SiteImprove, see Step 5: Site Maintenance.

Finally, when you have confirmed that your site is ready to be published, submit a Go-Live request using the request form on the Yale IT Service Portal. Your development site will be copied over to its production environment on the domain.

Step 5. Maintain your site

Enable Siteimprove

Siteimprove is Yale’s preferred website analytics tool, which also provides automated analysis of your site’s usability and accessibility. In addition to a full suite of analytics tools to evaluate your site’s performance, Siteimprove can:

  • Identify broken links
  • Find lapses in your content’s web accessibility
  • Give you an estimate of how user-friendly your site is

We recommend setting up Siteimprove on your site at some point between finishing your site and your site launch.

To request your site be added to Siteimprove, send a request via email to

Ongoing Website Maintenance

Even after your site launches, it’s a great idea to create a plan to review site content at specific intervals. We recommend taking the Regular Auditing and Web Maintenance training and reviewing the Regular Auditing Maintenance webpage to help you manage your site over time.