Web content best practices
A website, unlike a printed publication, is a living document. It needs your constant attention.
It's important to maintain your site regularly and keep your online presence fresh and up-to-date. Quality content will give readers a reason to return to your website and helps ensure your site ranks well in search engine results. Below are a few web content best practices to help you maintain your website.
Create content with users in mind
Who is the primary audience for the content you are about to create, what kind of information will they be looking for, and what is the best way to present this information to them? Before you create new content, you should consider who you are creating it for, and why.
Read more about how to create content with your users in mind.
Follow best practices for writing for the web
Websites tend to be glanced over as opposed to read. To facilitate easy scanning of your content, you should use things like headings, bulleted lists or horizontal lines to break up your text. It is equally important to use clear and simple language, and write short sentences and paragraphs.
Read more about tips and best practices for writing for the web.
Keep your content up to date to ensure it is relevant and helpful
If someone visits your site and sees content that is out of date or no longer accurate, they may lose faith in the value and usefulness of your website. Make a note of any pages on your site with topical or time-sensitive content, and set reminders to update this content.
Read more about setting reminders.
Design your website for mobile users, as well as desktop users
Mobile users expect to find any information they’re looking for within a few clicks. To provide your site visitors with quick access to the information they need, you should follow best practices for building website navigation, such as using in-text links and audience- or topic-based menu items.
Read more mobile-friendly navigation tips.
Follow best practices for search engine optimization (SEO)
Most people use a search engine like Google to find what they’re looking for on the internet, such as “MBA programs in Canada." You can easily optimize your site’s content to increase organic traffic to your site from search engine results.
Read more about search engine optimization (SEO).
Ensure your content is accessible to all users
Alt image descriptions allow visually impaired users to understand what an image is, while avoiding videos with strobing lights can prevent triggering a seizure in users with epilepsy. These are two examples of what it means to create content that is accessible to all.
Read more about creating accessible web content.
Consider the best file formats for downloading
If you want to provide downloadable reports or files on a page, you should stick with common file types like a PDF as opposed to an obscure file type that a user would need a specific, paid software program to open. Microsoft Word and Excel files can be saved as PDFs, and most computers come with a PDF reader.
Read more about document formats for downloading.
Your hyperlinks should have their target settings set as follows:
- Use "open in this window / frame" if your link goes to any page on MUN.ca.
- Use "open in new window" if your link is to an external site that is not a Memorial campus website.
Follow Memorial’s style guide
Every university has a style guide; a style guide is simply a reference guide that ensures all Memorial website users are consistently using the same set of grammar and style rules.
Some of the most important style guide rules to follow as website users are the following:
- Your page titles, menu item titles, and headers should only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns in the title. For example: Contact us not Contact Us.
- Use lower case for academic subjects and departments, like psychology or folklore.
- When writing a date, it should always be: day, month, date, year, as in Saturday, July 11, 2021. Never 11 July, for example. And you can abbreviate any month with more than 5 letters.
Refer to Memorial’s style guide when in doubt about proper style and grammar usage.