singledigitalpresence.vic.gov.au

Structuring your page content

A well-structured page is easy for users to scan to find the information they are seeking.

Generally people only read about 25% of the words on a page, so you need to give a snapshot of the content via the headings, introduction text and first paragraph.

Introduction

  • In a sentence of two, provide an overview of the purpose of your content.
  • Use full sentences with a full stop at the end.
  • If you don't have an appropriate first sentence, use your summary (meta description).

Paragraphs

  • Present the most important information first, or at least a summary of what will be covered on the page. 
  • Use short, simple paragraphs that are 2 or 3 sentences long, with a maximum of 15 words per sentence.
  • Write in plain English.

Headings

  • Use headings to break up the content – the reader can scan the headings to understand what the page is about.
  • Headings should be succinct and use keywords.
  • Only one top level (H1) heading is allowed per page, which is your page title. 

Subheadings

  • Heading sizes must be sequential – all main headings on a page need to be H2, and subheadings under these are H3, and then H4, and so on as required. This is important for accessibility requirements. 

Lists

  • Bulleted lists make content scannable.
  • Numbered lists are good for steps that have to be followed in a particular order or to show priority.
  • Use a parallel structure – each list item should follow from the lead in content (e.g. all verbs in the same form).
    • For example, this list is being used to:
      • illustrate an example of writing lists
      • guide content editors through using a parallel structure
  • No punctuation should be used for bulleted lists, unless each list item is a complete sentence.
  • A call to action is a button or a link that clearly leads the reader to the next step in their journey (Apply, Register, Subscribe, etc).
  • In-text links should clearly describe the destination that they are directing readers to click out to. 
  • Your most important links should be in your main copy.

We encourage you to Create a new content page in the website. This will help you to see what works online and what doesn't. If you need to start with Word to collaborate with stakeholders then you should use our Single Digital Presence content template. 

Reviewed 29 June 2021

Vic Gov digital guide

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