CMS Guide

Writing for the Web

Keep it clear and concise

Good web writing provides worldwide, non-stop marketing and supports a commitment to great communication — not just for the institution, but for every program, department, faculty member, club and event associated with Brandeis.

Be succinct

Reading on the web is physically draining. You need to get to the point, and get there fast. Cut out unnecessary words. Stay away from convoluted phrasing. And keep sentences short when you can.

Keep the most important info on top

Web users are on a mission to find the info they need — don't bury the good stuff. This can also improve searchability.

Avoid web clichés

When the web was young and we were unsure of whether people would get it, websites had a lot of directions and introductions that are now unnecessary. Some of the most common:

  • Welcome to the Brandeis University Weaving Department Website.
  • Click here to find out more!
  • On this web page you will find... Use the menu on the left... or Look below..., etc.

Eliminating relative directions is especially important with our new mobile responsive web templates. That item you're directing them to will not always be "on the left" on a phone or tablet.

Keep a conversational tone

You want them to read what you write. Formal language tends to be hard for readers to absorb—and it uses more words than are really needed. Certain areas of the site are more dignified than others (Academics and About versus Admissions and Student Life), but their style can still be warm and friendly.

The web is nonlinear

Visitors often enter a page on your site from a lower page or through Google, which means they’ll need some context. That's why the Admissions site has some general copy about the university even though the About section also provides this information.