Before you ask another member of staff to add some content to the University website, make sure you've chosen the best platform for your content.
If the website is the right place to put your content, there are some other things you need to consider.
Think of a user need
When you brief content for the website, provide a clear, detailed, and specific user need to the person creating the web page.
A user need helps the person creating the page understand:
- who the page is for
- what a user needs to achieve when they land on the page
- which content type to use to make the page
If there's more than one user need, you probably need to create more than one page. The best way to create clear, easy-to-follow content is to create one page for each user need.
We write user needs in a format called a user story. Every page on the website must have a user story before anyone can publish it.
When you brief your web content, you can explain the user need by writing a user story for your content.
Choose a content type
Every page on the University website is categorised into a content type.
We use different content types to structure information in different ways and make our pages easier for people to find.
Before you ask someone to create some content for the website, think about which content type they should use for the page.
You can use your user story to help you decide. For example, a user story about someone:
- who wants to complete a task would need a Guide page
- who's interested in an opportunity the University has to offer needs a Campaign page
- who needs factual information about a University policy should have a Corporate information page
When you provide your brief, you can suggest a content type to the person creating the page to help them understand what kind of content they're creating.
Each content type has its own template, which is arranged into sections for different types of content, like text or images. Each of the text sections has space for a maximum number of characters (including spaces).
When your brief your content, you should be aware of these character limits.
The most important character limits are:
- the page title - maximum 100 characters
- the page summary - maximum 160 characters
- content section on a Guide page - maximum 5,000 characters per section (you can add up to 20 sections)
- content section on a Corporate information page - maximum 50,000 characters
- content section on an Announcement - maximum 10,000 characters
You can check how many characters you've used:
- in Microsoft Word, by clicking the word count in the bottom navigation
- on a character-counting website, like lettercount.com
Write for the web
People read differently online and in print. For example, people on a website are more likely to scan a page, looking for the information they need to find, rather than read everything in full.
When you're drafting content for a web page, remember you're writing for a website, not for a print document.
Sentences and paragraphs
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and clear
- If something is important, write it clearly and put it near the top of a section so it's easy to find
Tone and style
- Use our Editorial style guide to make sure your content is clear and consistent
- Write instructions clearly and succinctly
- Use the active voice (as opposed to the passive voice, for example, 'the passive voice is used')
Use headings to help people scan the page for the information they need.
If you draft your content in Microsoft Word, you can use the heading styles there to make your headings clear to the person you're briefing.
A user journey is the way someone travels through a website by using links on pages to find more information about specific topics.
As you draft your content, look for opportunities to add links to other information people might find useful. You can add links to pages on our website or another website entirely.