Content standards and best practices

Content is never "finished." It should be thought of as a living, breathing and always changing method of communicating your business's vision, goals and offerings.

General tips

Know what users want/expect

Understanding how users experience your website will help you create an optimized user journey.

  • The way users read webpages is different than printed materials. They tend to absorb information by quickly scanning headings, hyperlinks, short descriptions, search results, lists and keywords or phrases that match their task at hand, jumping around the page(s) rather than reading things in a linear way.
  • We also have to consider the increased use of mobile screen sizes, scrolling and responsive layouts as technology evolves.
  • Likewise, we should pay attention to what other similar and non-similar websites are doing to manage information and task completion. Non-government sites are able to experiment and use the latest web features to promote, highlight and display their content. As web becomes more of a two-way communication tool, we should look at what kinds of interactions users are growing to expect.

To learn more, see the Design Thinking section.

Regularly update your content

It's extremely important to make sure you keep content up-to-date and focused on any tasks that users want to complete. If users see that content is always incorrect and irrelevant, it could lead to loss of trust and visits to your site. 

Content should be reviewed at least quarterly. Content reviews should include questions like:

  • Does the page still need to exist? For example, if it's for a program that ended, consider whether there is information that citizens still need to reference. If you need to keep a page for a completed program, the page should make it clear that the program is over.
  • Do each of the links still work? Make sure it goes to where you think it goes, especially for links to non-City websites.
  • Is everything on the page still correct? 
  • Should seasonal content be changed or removed?
  • Are linked documents still relevant and up to date?
  • Are people finding the page?
  • Are tasks being completed?
  • Is the page supporting the business the best it can?