Web Style

Proper writing and formatting on the web is essential for branding consistency, user expectations, and 508 compliance.


While it's tempting to want to play with the formatting and design of the page, elements have been carefully designed to fit within branding and web best practices. The proper use of header tags and css formatting ensures your content remains consistent with the DeSales image and accessible to those who require assisted technology.

Header 1 - Page Title Only

Header 2 - divides subject areas of the page

Header 3 - divides subsections within subject area of the page

Normal - body copy 

CSS Formatting:

emphasis-bodytext - page introductions and callout text

Bullet lists (note: CSS bullet lists don't always format as expected in Sitefinity. If you're having trouble, contact kristin.laudenslager@desales.edu or gregory.hernandez@desales.edu for help.)

  • Basic bullet list
  • Channel list red
  • Channel list blue

emp-red - used VERY SPARINGLY to call out  critical text

emp-blue - used to emphasize important points

Web admins maintain the right to edit content and formatting to conform with DeSales standards and best practices.

Writing Web Copy

Writing copy for the web is a distinct discipline that is very different from writing for academia or even writing for marketing. All web content should directly serve your reader's needs, not yours. Web readers are task-oriented  — they're looking for information as quickly as possible. 

If you're tasked to write copy for the web, please keep these tips in mind:

Keep it tight and bright. Use the inverted pyramid style: important content at the beginning, followed by details.

Keep it scannable. Use short sentences, simple words and bullet lists whenever possible. 

Speak directly to your reader. Write in the first person and use the active voice. 

Keep it friendly. Use contractions and conversational tone.

Keep it searchable. Use the vocabulary of your users, avoid jargon. 


Yes: Please join us for [event, lecture, etc], on mm/dd/yy at [location].


No: The [DeSales department] in conjunction with [other entity] works to project that which can be subsumed under the delegitimization of teleological narrative. The hermeneutic of the literary canon opens a space for the experience of commodified objects. Thus, the DeSales student mindset will be expanded and furthered via our [event, lecture, etc]... (example created with the help of The Virtual Academic sentence generator)

When in doubt, remember that content is about your reader.

Before you post, STOP and ask yourself:

Who is your audience?
Are you writing for undergrads? adult students? parents? faculty? the general public?

What’s in it for them?
Why should your reader care about this post? Is it informative? entertaining? educational? helpful?

What's your primary message? 
What is the single most important thing you want your reader/viewer to know? Ex: The DeSales University PA Program is one of the best programs in the country.

What are the details? 
What facts, data, anecdotes, and philosophies support your message? Ex: We will use program statistics, student stories, anecdotes, videos, and photos to support our primary message.

Is there a  call to action? 
Why are you posting this? What do you want your reader/view to do? Ex: “Apply Now”, “Request More Information”, “Visit”, “Register”, “Donate”, “Read More”, “Learn More”, etc.

It should be noted that while the University’s Mission, Vision, and Values are extremely important to the functioning and definition of the University, they are not directly measurable and will therefore serve as “undertones” of our messaging.