Dos and Don'ts When Creating Your Content


Use short paragraphs and sentences

Follow the 1-2-3-4-5 Rule.

  • 1 main thought, expressed in
  • 2 to 3 short sentences, taking up no more than
  • 4 to 5 lines on the page

What happens at six lines? Your paragraph becomes more than an inch long. And an inch of type is too thick for most readers. Especially when you’re writing for mobile.

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Find out how to:

  • Post your resume
  • Search our jobs database
  • Sign up for Career Fairs


Read about how we can help you prepare for the rigors of the job search, with tips for posting your resume on our website, searching our extensive database of job offerings, and registering for upcoming fall semester Career Fairs.

Use Bulleted Lists and Text Formatting

Users tend to pay more attention to bulleted lists and bold/italicized text. These formatting tools catch the eye and also make reading faster by breaking information into smaller sections and emphasizing key words and phrases.

  • If you have three or more items broken up by commas, consider using a bulleted list instead.
  • Highlight important information in bold and italics, but don't overuse it because then it becomes meaningless.
  • Always use the bulleted list styles. Do not use the bullet characters or * to create your own custom bulleted list.

Get to the point as quickly as possible

Start with the conclusion, follow with the details. Use the inverted pyramid to place important information at the top of your articles.

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Apply here [with a link to application]


By completing the online application available on this site you can enroll in the program.

Cut out unnecessary words and information

Cutting half the words on a webpage can increase usability by up to 58 percent.

Don't use four words when one or two are enough. Short paragraphs, short sentences, and familiar words are the most readable. Digital content is not what you learned to write in English class, so don't try to win any writing awards.




the reason for 
for the reason that 
due to the fact that 
owing to the fact that 
in light of the fact that 
considering the fact that 
on the grounds that 
this is why 
in terms of 
with regard to

Be accurate. Be clear. Be concise.

More than half of your users will spend less than three minutes on your site. Make them count.

They won't read your content thoroughly or in its entirety. They will skim your site to find the information they want. They search for headlines and keywords, skip around, and have short attention spans.

Avoid vagueness, ambiguity, triteness, euphemisms, and wordiness.


Ask For 


Prior To 


Avoid using jargon, clichés, or marketing “fluff” on the web

Use words that your target audience uses when searching and avoid unnecessarily complex language. Do not fill your pages with marketing “fluff” or needless formalities. Boastful, exaggerated language reduces the likelihood that your content will be read or believed.

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Call it “financial aid” if that is what your users call it.

Oregon researchers study how patients with a minor heart condition are affected by high altitude.


Use “financial assistance” just because that is what your department calls it.

Oregon researchers study the effects of patent foramen ovale in a high-altitude Bolivian setting.

Avoid using acronyms

Unless your website is only for an internal audience, don't assume that your users know the nicknames and acronyms you use.

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Contact the Teaching and Learning Center.


Contact TLC.


Use pronouns

The user is “you.” The department is “we.” This creates more approachable content and makes the users feel like they are part of your organization.

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Get advice you need to write effective web copy that gets your program noticed.


Users should review our suggestions on writing for the web to optimize their organization’s outreach efforts.

Use active voice

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If it snows, call the parking hotline before coming to campus.

The council proposed new regulations.


In the event that it snows, the parking hotline should be called prior to coming to campus.

New regulations were proposed.

Show people what they can do

Don't just tell someone about your product, show and tell them what they can do with that product. Instead of writing about us and what we offer, focus on what people can do at the UO and after graduation. It's not enough to tell people you offer a degree in education, show them what they will be able to do with that degree once they graduate.


Use Headings to Break Up Long Articles

“A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read. Write for online, not print.” — Jakob Nielsen

Headers Outline Your Content

Think of headers as the outline of your page. They should be arranged to show the hierarchical ordering of information from the broadest and most important (Heading 2) to secondary information that supports the information in your Heading 2 (Heading 3) to the most specific information that supports the information in your Heading 3 (Heading 4).

For accessibility reasons, do not skip levels — don't start with a Header 3, or go straight from a Header 2 to a Header 4. You can go from a Header 3 or a Header 4 back to a Header 2 when you switch to a new broad topic.

Which one would you actually read?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. In voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

Use Keywords in Headers

What keywords will your target audience use on Google in order to find your page? Using keyword-rich headers not only improves your search engine results but also helps visitors find the desired information on your webpage.

Since users tend to skim through content, use the most relevant keywords and make them stand out by placing them in headers. If users don't see the word or phrase they are looking for in a header, they may think the information is not on that page and decide to move on.

Format Your Section Headers

Use “header” tags (H2 for major headings, H3 for subheadings) instead of applying a bold style to the text. This is important for accessibility as these headers serve a similar purpose to the table of contents in a book. People using screen readers can get a clear understanding of the main topics on a page and navigate through your content easier when headers are used.

Header tags also make it easier for search engines to understand the information on your page, which increases search engine rankings.

More on Adding Headers in Drupal Basics


Take the time to craft compelling headlines, because headlines truly make a difference.

Write clear, direct headlines using obvious keywords

If Google can’t find it, nobody can find it. So, use keyword-rich headlines and page titles to increase your results in search engines.

Use clear, simple, and concise headlines that are anywhere from 3-15 words.

Write headlines and page titles that are self-explanatory

If visitors don’t understand the headline or page title without the images, text, and context, they probably won’t click.

Headlines are also important because they let visitors know they’ve arrived where they intended to go and found what they were looking for.

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UO’s College of Education ranks in the top five nationally


Plato, Aristotle, and Being No. 1

Use imperative words, especially in headlines and email subject lines

Using imperative words like see, make, and look gets your content shared—what will your content make your readers do? Using imperative words like download, register, open, and add can increase your read rates and also boost email clicks.

Make your headlines interesting

While your headlines should be informative, they should not be boring. Headlines should be specific and evoke emotion or curiosity, promote engagement, and be useful. This gives readers a stronger reason to click.

Don't use "Click Here" or "Read More" or similar generic language to label your links

Make link text clear: Generic phrases like "Click Here" force users to rely on surrounding text for understanding, consuming their limited time and attention. Users skim for keywords to minimize reading and may overlook generic links. Help your users find what they are looking for by using descriptive link text.

Make links accessible: People using screen readers can skip surrounding text and go straight to links. Avoid using vague language like "Read More" because users will not understand what the link is about without the context.

Use concise, descriptive, and unique link text

When your site visitor reads a link, the text should describe where the link will take them. They should not have to read the surrounding text to understand what the link is for.

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  • Learn to write better links.
  • Download Your Syllabus.
  • Learn more about the Oregon Bach Festival.


  • Read more about writing better links.
  • To download your syllabus, click here.
  • Take me there.

Don't bury important links within paragraphs

If information is important enough on your website to require a link, do not bury it within your copy. Users skim for helpful links, but links that are buried within text are hard to find and are easily missed or ignored.

Add links to the beginning or end of a paragraph or sentence.

Use a call to action button to help your users take important actions, such as signing up for a mailing list or submitting a form.

  • Avoid using too many buttons on a page.
  • Make the first word of the button a verb if possible. Use "File a Complaint" instead of "Complaint Filing."

More on Call to Action Buttons in Drupal Basics


Don't organize your content around your org chart

Most people come to your website to find information or complete a task. Don’t make them figure out your internal organization to get something done. Present related tasks and content together on the site, regardless of which office is responsible for them.

Don't put your mission statement on your home page

Unless this is the most important content your users search for when visiting your site, it should not be on your home page. Don’t tell people what you do—show them by making your most important services and content available immediately on your site. Your users come to your site to do something—make it easy for them.

Don't explain what a website is

Avoid using a welcome message like this: “I would like to personally welcome you to our department’s web page. We have put together a great collection of information and links to help you learn more about us. I invite you to look around and click the links to the left.” A website is a collection of information, no need to tell your readers that.


Don't post a PDF version of a document unless absolutely necessary

Unless it's something someone needs to print out, try to avoid using PDFs on the web. PDFs and other print documents are not intended for the web and pose issues with searchability, accessibility, and readability. Besides, if the content was written for print, chances are it’s not appropriately formatted for your website.

When creating a PDF document to post on your website, make sure it was created from an electronic document — a Word file, InDesign file, etc. — and not from a scanned document or an image. Screen readers can usually interpret text from an original document but cannot from text in images.

Visit the Adobe website for help with creating accessible PDFs and checking existing PDFs for accessibility.