October 16, 2009 – A great web content strategy is partly based on tweaking and experimentation to determine the most relevant and engaging content topics, views, and voice for each piece, and partly based on creating a consistent look to your web content. The second part of this equation is best handled through the creation and implementation of a style guide.
Style guides are like employee manuals for your web content. Through a style guide you can set out the rules for how you want your web content’s format to appear online to help achieve a consistent look to your website, even if multiple writers and editors are responsible for your content.
Formatting and aesthetic issues you can lay out in your style guide can include:
- The font style, size, and colors that should be used on your website
- Spacing issues (how many spaces after a period, between paragraphs, subheadings, etc)
- Spelling consistency (i.e. – website, Web site, and web site, are all technically correct, you just need to decide which version to use consistently with these types of phrases)
- Keywords, blog tags, category names, and other organizational aspects of your content
- Word count parameters for articles, blogs, FAQs, and other content (this also helps writers decide if they need to break up a topic into several parts)
- The perspective of the articles (first, second, or third person narration)
- Other technical decisions about the layout of the content on the web page
When you have these aspects clearly laid out, you can ensure that anyone working on your web content is adhering to the branded look and feel you have created for your legal practice. We’ve seen a lot of websites where it is obvious multiple writers are relying on their personal style choices and creating a website that looks muddled and unprofessional in the process. By creating a style guide you can keep your website looking clean and put-together, no matter who is writing your content that week.
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