5.1 VCU Homepage Link

Websites must include a link to the VCU homepage.

Details & Example

The VCU homepage link must go to “https://www.vcu.edu/” and have “Virginia Commonwealth University” spelled out. This is typically included in the website’s footer alongside other contact information. Inclusion of the VCU branding bar does not fulfill this requirement.

<a href="https://www.vcu.edu/">Virginia Commonwealth University</a>

Please ensure the HREF value is "https://www.vcu.edu/" as non-HTTPS and non-www-prefixed URLs are permanently redirected.

5.2 Parent Unit Link

Websites for a unit of the university that has a parent unit must provide a link to the parent unit on every page.

Importance & Implementation

A link to a parent unit provides visitors context to the university’s organizational structure as well as ease of navigability to similar resources. This link is typically included in the website’s footer contact information.

5.3 Contact Information

Websites must provide contact information (e.g. address, phone, email) on every page.

Required Information

The following contact information is required on every page of a website:

  • A physical address or mailing address
  • A phone number
  • An email address

Importance & Implementation

Providing contact information provides visitors the ability to get additional information by alternative methods. This information is typically included in the website’s footer, but can alternatively be linked to a dedicated contact page.

5.4 Last Updated Date

Websites must provide a date of when the site or its pages were last updated or reviewed on every page.

Importance & Implementation

A last updated date informs visitors on how up-to-date the content is. The following guidelines and suggestions should be referenced when implementing a last updated date:

  • The date should be specific to the individual page and not the overall website.
  • The terms “Last updated”, “Updated”, or “Last reviewed” may be used.
  • Special CMS tags, client-side Javascript, or server-side code are often used to provide a last updated date.
  • This information is typically included in the website’s footer.

Out-of-Date Content

Websites are required to be updated or reviewed every 12 months. Therefore, the last updated date on any page should be less than 12 months old.

5.5 Postal Box

Websites must not use the phrase "PO Box ####" on any page.

United States Postal Services Trademark

Due to a trademark by the United States Postal Services, websites are not allowed to use the phrase “PO Box ###”. Instead, use “Box ####” when referring to a postal box.

5.6 Inclusion Links

Websites must include links to the required inclusion resources.

Required Inclusion Links

The following are the required inclusion resources every website must link to. These links are typically included in the website’s footer.

Accessibility Link

To better provide inclusive access to VCU’s resources, all websites must include a link to VCU’s Accessibility Resources page on every page.

<a href="https://accessibility.vcu.edu/" title="Accessibility at VCU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Accessibility</a>

Technical Support (Webmaster) Link

To better provide centralized technical support for university websites, all websites must include a mailto link to the VCU Webmaster on every page. This email is monitored by the Technology Services IT Support Center who route messages to the responsible party. Additional methods for technical assistance may be linked alongside the VCU Webmaster mailto link.

<a href="mailto:webmaster@vcu.edu" title="Contact the VCU webmaster">Webmaster</a>

Privacy Link

All websites must include a link to the VCU privacy statement on every page. The privacy policy informs users on what information is collected and how it is used while using VCU digital resources. Custom privacy policies may be linked so long as it references and links to the official VCU privacy statement.

<a href="https://www.vcu.edu/privacy-statement/" title="VCU privacy statement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Privacy</a>

5.7 404 Page

Websites must provide a helpful 404 error page.

The Importance of a Helpful 404 Page

Helpful 404 pages guide users when they stumble across a resource that no longer exists or has moved. These pages should be relevant and tailored specifically for the website.

Implementation & Example

Configuration of a 404 page depends on the platform the website is hosted on. Please contact Web Services if technical assistance in implementing a 404 page is required. A good example of a helpful 404 page is the VCU homepage 404.

5.8 Search

Websites must include an input field to the VCU search tool.


If a website provides its own equivalent search functionality, or is a single page site, the inclusion of an input to the VCU search tool is not required.


To learn more on how to include an input to the VCU search tool on a website, visit the article on adding a basic VCU search box to your site at the VCU Technology Services website.

5.9 Bulletin Information

Websites displaying academic course and program information must be supplementary to, not duplicated from, information in the VCU Bulletin.


The VCU Bulletin is the official source for academic course and program information. When information on a website does not mirror the VCU Bulletin, it can cause confusion if it becomes outdated or is not identical.


An exception is granted if the academic course and program information displayed is automatically pulled from the VCU Bulletin.


It may be better to only include supplemental academic course and program information that gives a high level overview accompanied by a link to the corresponding VCU Bulletin information (see Content, Bulletin Statement (5.10) below).

5.10 Bulletin Statement

Websites must include a VCU Bulletin statement when showcasing, supplementing, and/or summarizing academic course and program information.

The Statement

“The VCU Bulletin is the official source for academic course and program information.”

This statement must include the link to the VCU Bulletin.


Including the VCU Bulletin statement alongside relevant information points users to the canonical source to verify the information. This can help alleviate confusion and creates a link between your website and the VCU Bulletin.


This statement should be visually distinguishable from the relevant information it’s accompanying, and may be included as a footnote on the page.

5.11 Third Party iFrames

Websites cannot deliver primary content via an iframe. 


Use of iframes to display content should only be used for supplemental content. Websites should refrain from delivering primary content via an iframe, but if for technical reasons iframes must be used for primary content then contact information and instructions on how to obtain the content in alternate formats must be provided.