Content guidelines

Content components

This documentation contains definitions, guidelines and best practices concerning key content components of the PCC website.

Web Features
- The weekly stories posted to the homepage of pcc.edu.
Announcements
- Public announcements posted to the homepage.
College News
- Most recent PCC news releases and PCC stories by other media agencies.
Spotlights
- Highlights featured websites related to current campaigns and marketing efforts.
Alerts
- How we disseminate campus closures over the internet.
CLIMB Content
- Learn where all the content comes from.

Form and style standards

Contact information style

It is possible to add contact information in the space underneath the page heading (see the sample above), please use the following format, including the line spacers between address elements, which are created using the shift key with the backslash key (shift + \ ):

Location | Contact Name (use a hyperlink) | Phone | Other

If typing the contact information within a paragraph, simply use commas to separate the information: Contact: Gabriel Nagmay, 971-722-4375. Note that it is preferred to link to the staff directory listing for a person, rather than to just an email address.

When referencing a location on campus, the information should flow as follows: Campus Name, Building, Room. An example of this is located on this page beneath the section title.

Page titles and page headings

Page titles should identify the sub-site and the page, so they are quickly identifiable in search results. They should always end with "| PCC". Example:

  • Fitness Technology: Frequently asked questions | PCC
  • Fitness Technology: Careers | PCC

Page headings need to make sense to a reader of the page. They do not need to include the sub-site name, since that should be apparent from the page content and the directional (breadcrumb) navigation. Example:

  • Frequently asked kuestions
  • Careers in Fitness Technology
  • Content guidelines

You should avoid capitalizing words unnecessarily.

Time style

When mentioning times of day, please use this format: 10am - 12 noon, or 6:30pm - 12 midnight

Word formatting

In an attempt to keep the look uniform across the site, we ask that you format the following words as they appear here:

  • website (not web site)
  • online (not on-line)
  • email (not e-mail)
  • Cascade Campus (not Cascade campus)
  • cancelation not cancellation

If you are uncertain about capitalizing certain words, the Chicago Manual of Style website has a forum with many answers.

Word usage

  • Associate Degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, Doctorate Degree

Pay attention to the differences in the usage of i.e. and e.g.

Writing for the web

Short and sweet

Most users just scan web pages because reading on computer screens is so difficult. So, write half of what you would for a printed brochure. Also, users don't like to scroll down a long page of text, so try to keep everything no more than a couple of screens deep.

Organizing your information

Start your text with the conclusion or place the most vital information first. In journalism this is called the "Inverted Pyramid" style. Break text up with subheads and bulleted lists. Provide summary information and link to more detailed, background information if it's needed.

Content style

Draw the reader in by writing with a conversational tone, but use humor only if you think that most people will understand the idea. Paragraphs must be short and present one idea each. Write with a "news you can use" approach. Use a simple sentence structure. Avoid superficial hyperbole or meaningless slogans. Use factual statements and avoid words that directly relate to the web, such as "follow this link" or "at the bottom of this web page, you'll find…."

Write like you talk

People pay more attention to material on the web that sounds like somebody is speaking to them personally. Please Don’t Overuse "Please" – When telling your reader what they should do, don't say "please" too often. Just tell them: "To talk with an advisor, call xxxx." Not: "To talk with an advisor, please call xxxx." Use Active Sentences – Strong, active verbs that focus on the reader are best. For example, the phrase, "Here are 10 related resources…" is passive and dull. Much better would be to phrase it like, "You can get more information…." This focuses on the reader with you, and they are invited to take strong action with the verb get.

Headlines

Users read the headline first and then (maybe) the text. So, make the headline direct and compelling. A headline should state what the page is about by clearly presenting its content. Headlines should be no deeper than three levels of hierarchy and the first word is always the most important. So, use name of subject first, like a company, the college or featured individual. Don't – Avoid useless headers or headlines like, "Welcome!" Don't be clever in headlines and avoid teaser headlines or page headers. Be concise and direct. Don't waste the reader's time or they'll never come back to your page.

Highlight important words or phrases

Occasionally put words that highlight key ideas in bold text. This makes it easier for readers to scan the page. However, you should never highlight long sentences.

Links

Use links to send the reader to more detailed information on other pages. In a list of links, put the most important ones first. The link name should clearly indicate what the user will find if they follow the link. Don't use too many links or the reader will get lost and confused. Don't use links if information can be presented on the page itself. Never mention on the page that you are providing links, because it's obvious it's a link.

Proofreading

Have your text and your entire web page edited on paper before it's published on the Internet. This will decrease the likelihood of mistakes and will provide a hardcopy record of the changes. Eliminate grammar errors. Polish copy by having several people check it for grammar, punctuation and consistency.