1. Generally aim for short, concise writing, while still being complete.
2. If a post must be longer than 300 words, break it up into sections with sub-headings.
3. Organize the information using the “inverted pyramid approach” used in newspaper reporting, where the most important information is put at the top. This important information includes the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why,” and sometimes includes the “how.” This key information is followed by more detailed information, and the post wraps up with background information. For more information on this approach, see the Wikipedia article on “Inverted pyramid” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_pyramid.
4. Consider using a “hook” sentence or two at the beginning to engage the reader’s interest, before going into the inverted pyramid approach. This is optional, and will depend upon the tone of the piece.
5. Use short paragraphs in preference to long ones.
6. Use bullet points for lists of similar items. Use parallel construction in bullet points. (For example, if the first bullet point is a complete sentence, make all of them complete sentences. If the first is a phrase, make all of them phrases with a similar structure.)
7. Write in Standard English.
8. Aim for a tone that is informal and friendly.
9. When you have a “call to action,” keep these points in mind.
a) Use an imperative command only for a broad, important moral issue. Example: “Join the Immigration Rights rally on the courthouse steps on Thursday.”
b) You can also use an imperative for simple website navigation. Example: “Read more.”
c) Otherwise, Request (“Please …”), Invite (“The Board invites you to …”) or Offer (“If you wish, you can …”).
10. Try to keep post titles short.
11. When naming a post title or using a sub-heading, use “title case,” also known as “headline style.” Capitalize the first and last words of the title and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that, and so on). For the HUUC website, make the following types of words lowercased unless they are first or last: articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions of fewer than five letters. An online tool for converting to title case is at https://www.titlecase.com/.
12. Other than for worship or Sunday morning R.E., if the item involves a meeting or event on a certain date, then in the subtitle include the the day of the week, the month and day, and the time.
13. When giving a byline, do not capitalize the “by.”
14. When using an acronym or abbreviation, spell out its full meaning the first time it is used. For example: “The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is the national organization to which Heritage Church belongs. The UUA was formed in 1961.”
15. When referring to our church, try to avoid using “HUUC.” Instead use something like “Heritage UU Church,” “Heritage Church,” or “our church.”
16. The first reference to a minister should use “Rev.” followed by first and last name. Example: “Rev. Bill Gupton.” If the first reference is in a sentence, the word “the” should appear in front of this, such as, “Our minister, the Rev. Bill Gupton, is encouraging everyone to join in this nationwide protest.” Subsequent references can use that minister’s preferred shortened address, such as “For seven days, Rev. Bill will lead the Anderson Township Journey to Justice Walk.”
17. When using dates, follow these formats:
a) Spell out the date without abbreviations. Example:
November 19, 2014
b) If the date refers to an upcoming event, include the day of the week. Example:
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
c) In a post title, if a date refers to an upcoming event in the current year, leave off the year. Example: Wednesday, November 19
d) When giving a date without a year, use the numerical date of the month without adding a “th” or “rd.” For example: December 7 (not December 7th).
18. When using times, follow a 12-hour clock, give both hours and minutes, and use “a.m.,” or “p.m.” If an event is at noon, use “noon.” Examples: 11:00 a.m.; 12 noon; 2:30 p.m.
19. For hyperlinks in the body of text, the text should be written so that it does not tell the reader to “click here.” (For example, it will end up saying “the UUA site,” NOT “for the UUA site, click here.”) The person submitting material should give both the text and the website/email address.
20. For email addresses, try to use Heritage Church email forwarders instead of people’s own email addresses. Use capitalization in the first part of the address to make its meaning clearer.
For more on writing for the web, see this article on legibility, readability and comprehension.
For basic style considerations, consult The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.
For more detailed information on how to handle specific situations, consult the Wikipedia Manual of Style at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style.