Writing for the Web at Fuller

Purpose of the Fuller Website:

To provide our external audiences with a clear, consistent, and accurate view of Fuller

Assumptions:

  • Our website allows anyone with Internet access to “visit” Fuller. Coming through the front door (our home page), most will want to quickly find what they specifically need. Others, however, may be planning to just “look around” for a bit to see if this seminary is a place where they can feel comfortable. We hope that these “visitors” find much to interest them and to keep them exploring the site.
  • Obviously, we don’t want anyone to get lost as they explore our site, and so we’ve worked at navigation that always shows where they are and how they can return to where they’ve been. Each area (mini-site) needs to consider how to logically organize and label their navigational links with user-friendly language. Avoid insider acronyms such as ECDs and CATS.
  • Check that your site answers all of the questions that your reader might have. Remember the site is being developed for external audiences; resist the urge to include information intended for current students or faculty.
  • With Ektron, you can track who visits your mini-site, how long they stay in each “room” (page), etc. If no one is visiting a page that you think is important, consider relabeling the page or placing the information in another area. Clear, interesting headlines can make the difference in whether someone reads further.
  • The overall site needs a consistent Fuller “voice.” We can have some variation between “rooms,” but visitors should be able to see a family resemblance as they navigate through the site—more of the feeling of a family home with many rooms rather than an apartment building housing people that don’t have much in common.
  • As an academic institution, we need to have a certain level of formality, but a welcoming tone. As you develop pages, be sure to have someone else review your pages and offer suggestions (IMC staff are available). For tone, you may want to review the news reports on the Fuller homepage, which are always clear and concise and very approachable. Avoid “market-ese” jargon; just give a clear explanation like what you would give a friend who asked a question. Don’t tell them that Fuller has the best _____; show them and let them reach that conclusion by reading your site!
  • The use of keywords is very important. What words do people use to find you? Ask everyone you know which words they would use in a Google search to find your specific pages. Then be sure to use these words throughout your mini-site. The rule of thumb is to use one of the keywords for every 9 words on the page. This seems like a lot (it is!), but try to include them on your upper level pages, such as your landing page and one level down.
  • Remember that your readers will be scanning the page, not reading it word for word.

    Some Online Resources:

    • Usability.gov (http://usability.gov) “Your guide to developing usable & useful Web sites.” See especially U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines, enlarged/expanded edition (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006), chap. 15 “Writing Web Content” (http://usability.gov/pdfs/chapter15.pdf).