Web Style Guide


See Body Copy Style for details.

  • Use Grammerly.
  • We are an American university. Use proper American English spelling and grammar.
  • Use sentence case in subheadings and all content. Capitalize proper nouns.
  • Do not substitute “&” for “and” when writing sentences. Use it for trademarks like AT&T and Ernst & Young, for common expressions like Q&A and R&D (note the spacing for words versus letters), and if space is severely limited (an example would be text in a table).
  • If a person reading the text aloud would pause, use the period, comma, semi-colon, colon, em-dash. Most other special characters do not pause.
  • Use parentheses and em-dashes very sparingly, if at all. Consider using commas, or writing two sentences.
  • Use the Oxford comma correctly.
  • Use the exclamation point and the em-dash properly and sparingly. If you’re not sure, don’t use it.
  • Never “decorate” text with punctuation. NO: Jane Doe – professor — doe@fdu.edu. YES: Jane Doe, professor, doe@fdu.edu.
  • Never add footnotes to the bottom of the page or section. Reword the body copy instead so it reads inflow.
  • Dates. Use full words and commas. Don’t use ordinal indicators (st, nd, rd, th). Examples:
    • The lockdown began Monday, March 16, 2020, just as spring break ended.
  • Times. Note the use of the space and capital letters. Use “to” instead of the hyphen.
    • 10 AM to 12:30 PM (Not 10:00)
    • 2 to 4 PM
    • noon to midnight
  • If you have a list, use the list feature, not a series of paragraphs. 
  • Use headings in the correct hierarchical order. Do not skip heading levels.
  • Never add HTML to the content. Use the components that come with this WordPress installation. If you need to do something special please contact Web Operations first.
  • Do not add empty blank lines.
  • There is only one space after a period, question mark, colon, etc.
  • Never underline anything.
  • Use bold and italics sparingly.
  • Use headings and subheadings properly and logically. Do not add bold or italics to headings.


The FDU Web Style Guide merges the best features of the major style guides used for most publications and includes adjustments that need to be made to ensure alignment with the specific needs of FDU.

Federal accessibility law requires that university websites meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, specifically, the  WCAG2.0 AA standard as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standard is occasionally revised.

Since the website content is available to the world-wide public, attention must be made to legal issues at the federal and state levels. Examples include trademark, copyright, and tax-exemption laws.

Privacy laws of NJ (NJ Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act), other state laws (California Consumer Privacy Act), the EU, and other countries (EU General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR) must be adhered to.

Our accreditation institutions and federal departments of higher education also have requirements for what should and should not be on the website.

Web style

This FDU Web Style Guide should be consulted first. If a guideline is not listed in this style guide, please consult the following guidelines, depending on the purpose of your publication, and email Web Operations for the inclusion of your request into this style guide.

AP vs CMOS for professional writing.

  • The Chicago Manual of style is the guide for authors, editors and publishers of books, periodicals and journals.
  • The AP Stylebook is the prime reference for those in the news and public relations fields.

APA vs MLA for academic research papers, and generally not referred to for web style.

  • American Psychological Association format is primarily assigned to writing in the fields social sciences: psychology, sociology, nursing, social work, criminology, and business where more timely sources are more important than older works.
  • Modern Language Association is the format of choice for the humanities: literature, language, history, philosophy, the arts, and religion; classic sources are as relevant as a modern works if not more so.

Grammerly is used for spelling, grammar, and syntax.

Understanding the four principles of accessibility: POUR

The principles of accessibility are known as POUR. Anyone who wants to use the Web must have content that is:

  1. Perceivable. Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses).
  2. Operable. User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform).
  3. Understandable. Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).
  4. Robust. Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).

Web editor job description

With the launch of the new FDU website in January 2020, the task of using WordPress to update the content of the site’s pages was delegated in part to a team of website editors who assist the Web Operations office (WebOps) but are not part of that office. The following points define the website editor role.

Each editor is assigned one or more areas of the website to maintain. Those assignments may change from time to time. Because WordPress permits any editor to update any page, editors should contact WebOps if there is any question about whether a particular page is included in their current assignment.

Editors only update existing pages. WebOps creates empty new pages as needed and maintains the navigation hierarchy of the website.

Editors do not make changes that alter the navigation hierarchy of the website, including redirects, changes of the parent page, or changes of URLs.

Editors utilize images from a WordPress Media Library maintained by the Communications Department. Except by prearrangement with WebOps, editors do not add or remove images in the Media Library.

Editors utilize the existing components of the available templates to render the contents of a page. The consistency of the website’s design is lost if pages are customized by inserting HTML code not a part of existing components, so WebOps needs to approve in advance any case where HTML is inserted.

Editors make efforts to use content provided by their client offices and departments to create pages that comply with rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, Search Engine Optimization, and ADA compliance, and request assistance from WebOps as needed

Notes are available at fdu.edu/webstyle recapping the points made during the website editors’ training session, and editors need to stay familiar with these tools, components, and conventions, and follow them.

From time to time editors may be asked to participate in multipage projects like the Faculty Profiles or updating a group of Program Pages to accommodate a curriculum change. Editors do not define, schedule, or announce such projects.

Requests from client offices and departments of FDU are not justification for compromises or exceptions to these points, and requests for exceptions must be referred to WebOps.

Replacing a pdf file with an upgraded version that has the same file name

  1. Locate the pdf file link on the page you want to replace
    Example: Ardra-test-pdf
  2. After logging into WordPress, navigate to the pdf link
  3. Open Media link in new window by left clicking on Media and choosing Open link in new tab
  4. On the top of browser window, click on Media Library tab
  5. Choose the pdf file you have uploaded 
  6. Scroll to bottom and choose Replace File
  7. Select Update
    **In my version of attempting this I uploaded one file and then uploaded a duplicate file with the same exact name, only when you open it you will see it has blue lines drawn through the title. This was my way of seeing if it worked. It did.