Website Style Guide

A consistent and thoughtful look and feel of the website are as important as what’s written on the pages, and one of the ways to achieve consistency is to follow these tips:

  1. Use the font, color, and paragraph styles that are included in this version of the website. Don’t import your own fonts and colors.
  2. Clip art is no longer allowed. 
  3. Only use photographs as images; don’t doctor up your images by adding words or colors.
  4. If you feel constrained by these ground rules, contact someone in the Web Advisory Group, and they’ll help you create a web page that will appeal to your audience without having to mess with the look and feel of the site. 

Writing guidelines

  1. Be concise. Keep word counts low. Most basic informational pages should not exceed 500 words, and most top-level pages should be no more than 300 words.
  2. Use an opening paragraph to summarize page content.
  3. Be conversational. use contractions such as It’s, we’re, you’ll, etc.
  4. Make use of subheadings to guide a reader through page content. As a general rule, there should be a subheading for every 200 words of content.
  5. Use your text formatting, like bulleted lists, pull quotes, and paragraph breaks, to quickly convey information.
  6. The text should guide readers around the site. Add some links to the text to get people to different parts of the site.
  7. Follow the College Style Guide. Consistency is key.

Font styles for headings and paragraphs

Header 2(Kind of big and weird; use sparingly)

Header 3(Great main copy header!)

Heading 4 (Looks cool when you have lots of info)

Header 4(Great for the sidebar)

Header 5 (Nice color break)
Header 6 (Tiny, like the Little Engine that Could)

paragraph (This is for regular copy, under all the headers)

Main copy should:

  • be informational
  • be friendly
  • include bullets and #s when needed (no punctuation with bullets)
  • use the informal “you” when you can
  • have single spaces between sentences

Good example of main copy writing

How to use bullets

As part of a sentence:

An ideal visit to campus includes:

  • meeting a professor
  • observing a class
  • having lunch in our cafeteria
  • talking with current students
  • chatting with a coach
  • tour of facilities
  • meeting your admissions counselor

When to use bold v. italics v. underline

Bold is used for directional emphasis. And don’t you forget it.

Italics are used to emphasize a description. It’s that easy!

Underlined words normally link to another page, so don’t use the underline feature unless you want to link the text.

General style points

  • The word email is spelled “email.”
  • The word website is spelled “website.”
  • First-Year Studies has a hyphen.
  • Headers are upper- and lowercase, not uppercase, unless it’s on the left hand side.
  • PDFs must always be open-able in a NEW WINDOW! You can adjust this when you are creating the link. Each pdf must include “(pdf)” next to it so people know it’s a download.
  • Refer to the online College Style Guide for complete guidelines.