Formatting Content for the Web: Helpful Hints

  • These guidelines are intended to help you follow the standard formats for the IUP website.

    Following the standard formats will increase consistency and usability across the website and maximize Google searchability.


    Use them according to the guidelines below. They are not interchangeable.


    Use the introduction style when highlighting the first paragraph of your content.

    Introduction button on formatting tooolbarTo apply the Introduction style, place your cursor anywhere within the first paragraph, then choose the style from the editing toolbar (see image at right).

    The point of the introductory style is twofold:

    1. It shows people where to start reading. This is particularly important on a busy webpage that includes many navigational elements.
    2. It encourages writers to have a strong lead sentence for the web page. That first sentence should always tell you the one most important thing a visitor to that page needs to know. Many visitors won’t get any further. So if the first sentence isn’t a good introduction to the page—it should be.

    Note: The introduction style is for the first paragraph only. Do not use the introduction style in place of headings.


    Use headings for side heads within your content. They should be used in descending order, starting with Heading 2 for the primary side heads. Side heads within the primary Heading 2 use Heading 3, etc.

    • Do not use headings for whole sentences.
    • Do not use headings out of order. Use them for their function, not for their appearance.

    Grants (Heading 2)

    Following is information about grants offered through the office.

    Grant A (Heading 3)

    This grant provides funding to eligible undergraduates ...

    Grant B (Heading 3)

    This grant provides funding to eligible undergraduates ...

    Scholarships (Heading 2)

    Following is information about scholarships offered through the office.

    In-State Scholarships (Heading 3)

    This scholarship provides funding to eligible undergraduates ...

    Scholarship A (Heading 4)

    Scholarship B (Heading 4)

    Out-of-State Scholarships (Heading 3)

    This scholarship provides funding to eligible undergraduates ...

    Please note the following:

    • Heading styles are not to be used for sentences, just for headings.
    • Headings are not to be confused with the introduction style.
    • Use of headings helps with Google searchability.
    • Headings need to be used correctly to be accessible (ADA requirements)

    Mixing the Two

    Do not use introduction and a heading style. This alters the heading appearance and consistency.

    Showing Emphasis


    Use italics to show emphasis. However, overusing italic type detracts from its ability to show emphasis.


    Reserve bold for when you really need it. Overusing bold detracts from its ability to show emphasis. Using bold in text also detracts from the ability of headings to stand out on a page.

    All Capitals

    Do not use all capitals. They make text more difficult to read, and some people interpret them as yelling.

    Note: Organizing text with the appropriate headings, ordered lists, and other styles may be a more effective way of showing emphasis.


    Define the Link

    The linked text should tell a person what is on the other side.


    Learn more about the American Psychological Association.


    • Click here to learn more about the American Psychological Association.
    • Learn more about the American Psychological Association ... More.

    URLs in Text

    Do not use URLs in text.


    See American Psychological Association for more information.


    See American Psychological Association,, for more information.


    Do not link a person’s name to an email address. Link a person’s name to a page with more information about the person, but write out an email address.

    Questions may be directed to Mike Powers,

    Quicklinks vs. Hyperlinks

    For links to other sites/pages within the content management system, use quicklinks rather than hyperlinks. When content moves, hyperlinks break. If you don’t know where to find content in the CMS, please ask!

    Ordered and Unordered Lists

    Use the ordered or unordered list options in the formatting toolbar. Do not use special “bullet” characters or type the number of the listed item. Instead, highlight the lines that you want included in the list and select the desired option. Aside from maintaining a consistent style, doing this is also an accessibility requirement, as it allows people with visual impairment to understand that what they are reading is an actual list.

    Other Points

    • Do not make surrounding punctuation—such as periods, commas, or quotes—part of the link.
    • Avoid making links bold.

    Customized Formatting

    Please use the standard formatting styles provided on the toolbars within the CMS editor. Centered and underlined text, for example, are not used on the website.

    Also, use the ordered-list styles—bullet points and numbered lists—provided by the CMS, rather than creating them by hand.


    Avoid use of tables when possible. There is a growing focus on making websites more accessible to people with disabilities, and tables are not easily translated for those who use screen readers on the Web.


    Photos and other graphics should be sized appropriately before being uploaded into the CMS. Do not resize images within the CMS; uploading oversized images is an inefficient use of storage space on the central server.

    Standard photo sizes for the IUP website are as follows:

    Recommended Image Sizes
    Width Settings
    Full width
    750 pixels
    Half width and below
    737 pixels
    Left- or right-aligned
    Photo Gallery Image, Horizontal
    750 pixels
    Follow aspect ratio

    Divisions in Text

    Do not use lines or combinations of symbols to make divisions in text. Proper use of headings should suffice.

    Examples of what not to do: