Web content best practices
When you create a new page on your website, there are simple best practices you can follow to ensure your content is relevant for your users, accessible to all visitors, optimized for superior search engine results and more.
Luckily, it is fairly easy to tick all of these boxes. A good starting point is to read through the best practices below, and apply these tips to all pages on your site.
8 web content best practices every Memorial user should know
Make sure your content is accessible to all users
A webpage is not complete until it is accessible for all potential visitors to your site. For example, many people will use a screen reader to read your content. In order for their reading experience to be coherent, you need to provide image alt text for your images, create your hyperlinks properly and make use of header tags so the visually impaired can quickly locate the content they're looking for.
Make sure your content is accurate and up to date
If someone visits your site and sees content that is out of date, no longer accurate or not helpful, they may lose faith in the value and usefulness of your website, or Memorial's websites in general, based on that one poor experience they had. It is important to keep track of any pages on your site with topical or time-sensitive content, and set reminders to update this content.
Make navigation easy
Internet users, especially on a mobile device, expect to find what they're looking for on your website in a few easy clicks of a button. To facilitate this expectation, your menus and web pages need to provide a navigation structure that will let users find what they're looking for quickly, easily, and without a feeling of frustration or confusion.
Roughly 40 per cent of traffic on Mun.ca in 2019 was from people using a phone or tablet to browse Memorial's websites. It is vital that your website be as mobile friendly as it is desktop friendly, in terms of its content and menu structures. Also, search engines show a preference for mobile-friendly sites.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Most people use a search engine to find what they're looking for on the internet, but a search engine cannot include your web page in its recommendations unless it knows exactly what your web page is about. SEO is the practice of telling search engines what your web page is about. It is easy to optimize your page for search engines, and doing so will increase the volume of visitors your website receives from search engines like Google, Bing, and Memorial’s own search bar.
Web style guidelines
In order to ensure consistency across all of Memorial's websites, and in order to standardize practices on websites with multiple users, we ask users to familiarize themselves with Memorial's web style guidelines. These guidelines ensure all Memorial websites look, function and feel roughly the same.
Writing for the web
Websites tend to be glanced over as opposed to read. There are many ways to facilitate easy scanning of your content, such as writing short and declarative sentences, breaking your paragraphs up into 3 or 4 lines maximum, making use of bulleted or numbered lists to break up long passages of text and using headers so visitors can quickly locate the specific content they're looking for.
Writing style guide
Memorial has created a style guide to ensure that everyone writing on behalf of the university is consistently using the same set of grammatical and stylistic rules. For example, on a Memorial website, academic subjects are not capitalized (it is psychology, not Psychology). Whenever you are unsure how Memorial handles a grammatical or stylistic decision, like whether to write 11 or eleven, consult its style guide for the answer.