Web Content Guidelines

Creating Good Web Content

Resources for Content Editors

The Seattle University website is managed by a collaborative effort from Marketing Communications and each department, division, and college. As owners of the website's content, staff members from each unit are responsible for creating, updating, and removing content on their respective website(s).

These resources will help ensure that your website features high quality content while looking good.

Web Content Guidelines

Maintaining Quality Content: Strategies, Tips and Tricks

The 19WQ Quarterly Web Forum, held on Thursday, March 7, 2019, was on "Maintaining Quality Content: Strategies, Tips, and Tricks." Click here to view the Power Point presentation from this event.

Section Titles

A Section’s title should clearly, concisely and completely describe the page’s content. The Section title will appear on top of the page, in the site navigation menu, and in the website breadcrumbs. Each layout should have a unique title to distinguish it from others on the website.

Use simple and commonly used terminology. Avoid abbreviations, wordplay and academic jargon. Do not use department slogans or marketing phrases as page titles. All titles must be in Title Case.


  • Graduation Requirements
  • Student Conduct Policies
  • Veteran Student Services
  • Proper Interview Dress
  • Contact an Advisor
  • Tips for Effective Writing


  • Things needed for graduating
  • SU Policies
  • VSS
  • "Suit"-ability
  • The Write Way

Page Organization

Website visitors skim the page until they find the information for which they are looking. Proper organization of a page’s content will increase usability and improve reading comprehension.

Important Information First

Put the most important information first. Important details should be second. Background information and information that pertains to a limited number of people should be last.

Logical Content Flow

Page content should be organized in a logical and consistent fashion. For example, organize content by subject, by time, or by audience.  Organize content in a way that will make sense to the target audience. In most cases, this means ignoring internal department reporting structures. SU Marketing Communications is available for consultation and advice on how to effectively organize your page’s content.


Users rely on headings to identify the content of the paragraph that follows.

Use Related Content Appropriately

Related Content should complement Primary content by emphasizing aspects of Primary Content, providing easy links to related resources or forms, or adding visual interest through images or video.



Make sure that all the information presented is correct. Incorrect or outdated information is unacceptable and should be updated immediately.

Include all Relevant Content

All content should be interesting and relevant to the target audience. Include all necessary information about a subject. If some important information is undetermined or unknown, state all known facts and provide a timeframe during which the other information will be added. Omit all non-relevant content.


Be succinct. Do not include information that is unrelated to the page’s topic or unimportant details that may confuse the visitor.


Do not recreate content that already exists on another page; instead, link to the relevant page. This will help avoid conflicting and outdated information.

Spelling, Grammar, and Abbreviations

Grammar and spelling must be perfect. Use of abbreviations should follow the Seattle University Style Guide and the AP Stylebook.

Simple sentence structure

A needlessly complicated approach to composing text that includes unnecessary verbiage and sophisticated vocabulary generally results in an inferior amount of comprehension for the user. In other words, write simply.

Short Paragraphs

Smaller paragraphs are easier to skim than larger paragraphs. Separate long blocks of copy into smaller paragraphs, each describing one topic or idea. Several short paragraphs are preferable to one long one.


  • Lists are easier to skim and understand than paragraphs. Use them when describing a series or a list of steps to be taken.
  • Each block of content should be preceded by a descriptive heading. Headings should be used to give the copy structure and to help navigation.
  • Follow the guidelines for Page Titles above to ensure that headings are appropriate.

Styles and Appearance

Consistent look, feel and function improves usability and present Seattle University as a unified organization. Customizing the look and feel leads to inconsistencies in the site's structure and appearance.

  • Use italics to indicate book titles and magazine titles.
  • Do not use underlines; website users think that they are links.
  • Use bold to sparingly emphasize points or bring attention to key phrases.
  • Do not colorize text.
  • Do not manually adjust font size.
  • Do not use UPPERCASE for anything except abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Use H2s, H3s, and H4s for headings as provided in the Editor. Do not create your own headings in the HTML.
  • Every page must have a banner. Read more about the different banner options here.

Appropriate Use of Images and Video

Images and videos should be used to add context, meaning or otherwise support the page text.


  • Images must be original, free of copyright or been granted permission for use.
  • Images should have little-to-no text in them and include an 'alt' description which conveys the meaning of the image, for accessibility.
  • Photos must be well-colored and in focus.
  • Do not use flashing, flickering, blinking or otherwise animated images.
  • Use appropriate image format to ensure best image quality and smallest file size:
    • JPEG for photos and full-color images
    • PNG for line drawings, low-mid color images, and images with transparency
    • GIF for line drawings, low-color images, and images with transparency
  • Read more on working with images.


  • Videos must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. They cannot be added directly to the CMS.
    • Read more on inserting a video into your Seattle U website.
  • Video must be high quality, in focus and have clear audio.
  • Videos should be in high-definition (1080p).
  • Videos must have captions or a transcript to meet accessibility standards.


All web content must comply with the Seattle University Copyright Policy. Text, images, videos, and files that do not meet these requirements must be deleted immediately.

In cases where copyrighted material is posted with the permission of the content owner, that permission must be attained in writing and be available for verification if needed.