Web elements.

Many smaller components support each piece of content we publish. This section details our style as it pertains to these web elements. It also explains our approach to the tricky art of search engine optimization (SEO).

Alt text.

Alt-text is the way we label images. It's especially meaningful for people who aren't able to see the images on our website. Alt text should describe the image in one to two sentences.

For more on how and why we use alt text, read the accessibility section.

Buttons.

Buttons must contain actions. Write in as clear and concise a manner as possible. Be sure to capitalize every word, including articles. It's okay if you use an ampersand in button copy.

Standard website buttons include:

  • Log In
  • Sign Up Free
  • Subscribe
  • Email Us

Checkboxes.

Use sentence case for checkboxes.

Curly or straight.

All quotation marks and apostrophes must be in curly format – This applies for all Blue Tusk Digital owned websites.

Drop-down menus.

Use title case for both menu names and menu items.

Forms.

A form title should clearly and quickly explain the form’s purpose—use title case for form titles and form fields. Finally, try to keep forms as short as possible.

Only request information that we need and intend to use. Don’t ask for information that might be considered personal or private. One example is gender. If it’s necessary to ask for gender, provide a field the user can fill in independently. Don’t create a drop-down menu.

Headings and subheadings.

Headings and subheadings help organize content for readers. Be generous with how you use them.

Headings (H1) tell people what they’re about to read. Use them for blog and page titles.

Subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) break articles down into smaller, more specific sections. They offer readers a simplified path to your content and make what you’ve written increasingly scannable.

Organize headings and subheadings in a hierarchy. The order should go like this: heading first, and then the subheadings beneath that, all placed in the proper order.

Include only the most relevant keywords in your headings and subheadings. Be sure to cover the most critical points of your content.

Use sentence case for all headings, regardless of the punctuation used at the end.

  • This is the correct formatting of a headline.
  • This Is Not The Correct Way To Format A Headline.

Finally,  do not bold or add any additional emphasis to any titles, headings or subheadings.

Links.

Provide a link every time you refer to something from an external website. Use links to guide users towards relevant and trusted external resources.

Don’t include preceding articles (a, an, the, our) when you link text. For example:

  • Yes: Read the PPC guide for details.
  • No: Read the PPC guide for details.

If linked content comes at the end of a sentence or before a comma, don’t link the punctuation mark.

Always avoid saying phrases like “Click here!” or “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.

Links should look different than emphasis text, regular copy, or strong text. They should have a hover state that tells readers they’re interactive. When setting the hover state of links, be sure to include a focus state as well. This will help readers who use assistive technologies and touch devices.

Lists.

Lists should be used to present steps, groups, or sets of information. Try to give context for the list via a brief introduction. Numbered lists are appropriate only when you’re describing the steps of a process. Otherwise, don’t use numbers if the order of the items on the list isn’t relevant.

If one of the items on a list is a complete sentence, capitalize and correctly punctuate all the items. If none of the items on a list is a complete sentence, avoid using punctuation. Do, however, capitalize the first word of each item.

Navigation.

Remember to use the title case for all navigation links. These links should be as clear and concise as possible.

Radio Buttons.

Use title case for headings and sentence case for button fields.

Related articles.

Now and then, a lengthy piece of copy lends itself to a list of related links at the end. Don’t go overboard—four is plenty enough.

Related articles should appear in a logical order. They should also follow the step-down/step-up rule. This says that the first article should be a step down in complexity from the current article. The second one should be a step up in complexity, thus leading to a more advanced article.

If possible, avoid repeating links from the body text in related articles.

Titles.

Titles organize pages. They also guide readers. A title appears at the beginning of a page or section and briefly describes the content that follows.

Titles are, unsurprisingly, in title case. End all titles with a period or some other form of punctuation.

SEO.

Never forget this: we write for humans, not machines. We avoid at all costs grotesque SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing. At the same time, we want to make it easy for people and search engines to find and share our content. On that note, here are some not-so-gross ways to do that:

  • Organize your page around a single topic. Use clear, descriptive terms in titles and headings that relate to the topic at hand.
  • Use descriptive headings that’ll structure your page and highlight only the most essential information.
  • Create descriptive alt text for every image.