Web Publishing Tips

Writing for the Web

When writing web page copy, make sure to keep your content brief, professional and informative. Write short paragraphs, and break up your content into sections with headlines. Use bullet points to emphasize list items. Place the most important information at the top of the page.

All written content should adhere to University style. The University of Southern Indiana uses AP Style, with a few exceptions. USI's Editor's Manual is available online and includes:

  • Approved AP Style exceptions.
  • Official names of buildings and locations on USI's campus.
  • Official department and program names.

For assistance writing web copy, contact University Communications or Web Services.


All images used on the USI website should be of good quality and resolution and should not depict any violations of University policy. Other inappropriate content includes but is not limited to full or partial nudity, explicit or suggestive language or gestures and advertisements.

Images should be sized for the web before being added to the website. A list of approved photo dimensions is available from Web Services. Photo dimensions can be modified in desktop programs such as Microsoft Paint, iPhoto for Mac, Gimp (free download) and Adobe Photoshop. Free web tools such as Webresizer.com also are available.

Large file sizes - those in excess of 200 KB (0.2 MB) - should be avoided. Free online image compressors can help reduce file sizes while maintaining image quality:

To comply with ADA requirements, all images should contain alt text - a few words of description of what the image depicts. For banner images, add alt text in the last field of the Umbraco content tab. Umbraco will use image titles as alt text for images inserted in the body text of a page. Change image titles on the Properties tab of each image in the Media section.

If any image contains a USI logo, it should comply with logo usage guidelines laid out in the academic and athletic brand standards guides.


The USI website includes links to both internal and external web pages.

Before linking to external websites, be sure to properly vet the source for credibility. Avoid creating links to sites that contain inappropriate content or advertising or reasonably appear to pose a risk to the security or credibility of the University, its website or the devices of those viewing the site.

When linking to web pages outside the USI website, set up hyperlinks to open in a new browser window or tab. This will prevent the user from having to click the Back arrow to return to the USI website. This option can be found in Umbraco in the Insert/Edit Link dialogue box in the Target menu - Open in New Window (_blank).

Make sure the anchor text - the text you're hyperlinking - is descriptive of the content of the linked page. Avoid using "click here" in link text.

Formatting Text

Do not underline text that is not hyperlinked. Users are trained to view underlined text on the web as clickable and may get confused when they discover it's not.

Use bold, italics and all capital letters sparingly, if at all. Instead, emphasize important content with bulleted lists and red or blue headlines from the Styles dropdown menu on the Umbraco toolbar.

Do not indent the first line of a paragraph, as you would in other forms of writing. It can make the page look messy and more difficult for the eyes to follow.

If you're pasting content from another webpage or offline document, use the Remove Formatting button on the Umbraco toolbar (white eraser icon) to remove any font or style formatting that may have come with it. This will ensure visual consistency within the University website.


Web Services

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