These guidelines are for those who create and edit pages for this website.
- Reading web pages is 20 per cent slower than reading printed pages. Bear this in mind when writing: less is more.
- Presentation is key. The layout of a page is as important as the text. Readers are unlikely to read a page with long continuous text and nothing else. Increase the readability of the page by breaking it up with headings, sub-headings, images, etc.
- Online readers often scan rather than read a page from beginning to end. They are looking for specific information – and quickly. Help them by using headings and sub-headings throughout your text.
- The shorter the paragraphs the better.
- Use bullet points – online readers love them because they are easier to digest and scan.
- In traditional writing, we would start with an introduction, then findings, and ending with a conclusion. The great majority of online readers will only read the first paragraph and then click away. So when writing, use the inverted pyramid style: the most important information must be included in the first paragraph. Tell them what they need to know without requiring them to read your closing paragraph.
Use (appropriate) photos when you can. In fact, the golden rule is more photos, fewer words. At the very least, every post should have a “featured image”. It is acceptable to reduce the size of images when using them but you should never increase the size of an image because this will make it look fuzzy and/or pixelated.
Sources of images
Two legal sources of free and good quality images. Though I put them under “general images” they also contain church-related images.
- Fr Paul Lew’s Flickr account: A fantastic resource covering many religious themes. We have permission to use any of his photos but please credit him.
- The CBCEW Flickr account: We have permission to use any photo from this account but please credit them like this: (Photo: © Mazur/cbcew.org.uk)
Things to avoid
- Excessive use of bold and italics. These are good ways of highlighting text but use them too often and they lose their impact. Similarly, do not over use exclamation marks! They can be very annoying! I’m sure you’d agree!
- Changing colour of text: black is best as other colours may not be easy to read for those with sight problems.
- Never say “Click here” when creating a link. That is meaningless when people scan pages. Make the link instantly meaningful by turning the descriptive words into the link. For example: “For more information, download the newsletter” instead of “For more information, click here”.
- When writing headings, make it obvious what they are about. Simple and descriptive headings are best. Readers use headings to find information quickly and using witty or clever headings can deter them.
- Church: Use “Church” when referring to the Catholic Church, or when it follows the name of a church (e.g., St Joseph and English Martyrs Church). Otherwise, use “church” even when referring to our church.
- Saint: Use “St” when followed by a name (e.g. St Joseph) unless it is at the beginning of a sentence or part of a heading.
- Dates: use the format 21 November 2020 rather than 21st November 2020.
- Time: there should be a space between the time and the AM or PM. For example, 2:00 pm rather than 2:00pm. Never write just 2pm.
- Parish/Parishioners: always with lower case “p” unless at the beginning of a sentence.
- Job titles: the general style is to minimise capital letters so always write parish priest and not Parish Priest. Political titles may be capitalised when followed by the job holder’s name (e.g., Prime Minister Boris Johnson) but otherwise stick to the minimise capital letters rule (e.g., Boris Johnson is prime minister of the UK). However, certain titles will always be capitalised such as the Pope and the Queen.
- Bishops’ names: Archbishops are referred to as Most Reverend (e.g., the Most Reverend Bernard Longley of the Diocese of Birmingham; other bishops are the Right Reverend (e.g. the Right Reverend Paul McAleenan).