Checklist for New Content

This is a checklist for all the content creators and content reviewers to follow when creating a new page. It's also a good idea to check these things when editing an existing page. These best practices ensure the website is written clearly, formatted consistently, mobile friendly, and accessible to people with disabilities.

Get the condensed checklist on PDF  

Learn more about creating accessible content

Is the Page Written for your Site Visitors?

  • Content is written for site visitors and geared to the tasks they need to accomplish on the website. If the page begins "The Mission of XYZ Office is to..." or quotes a General Statute, then the page is about you. Put that kind of information at the end of the page.
    • Some examples of pages written with the site visitor in mind: NC Department of Public Safety's page on Personal Safety and The State Library's page on Genealogy Research

Is the Page Easy to Read?

  • Sentences are short and employ active verbs. 
    • Use the Hemingway App to determine the readability score. If your audience is the general public, a 6th or 8th grade reading level will ensure your message is clear. 
  • Paragraph text is tagged as “normal.” All text is spell checked.
  • Formatting is cleaned to provide consistent look, use Tx to clean formatting, after paragraph text is pasted.
    • Sometimes font tags, div tags, and formatting in tables are cut and pasted into the text editor. If something looks funny, cut it and then paste using the "paste as plain text" icon.

Is the Page "Chunked?"

  • Paragraphs are short with lots of headings. This helps site visitors quickly scan the page.   
  • Headings in the Text Editor are in the correct outline order. Heading 2 is always first. The next level is Heading 3, et cetera. Do not skip heading numbers.
  • Bold text is not used as a header. Doing so hurts accessibility and scanability. 

Is the Key Information Locked in a PDF?

  • Content important to site visitors is placed on a web page. 
    • Since PDFs must be downloaded to be read, they are getting fewer and fewer views—especially from mobile site visitors.

Can the Page be Read on Mobile?

  • Large images (wider than 320 pixels) are added in a way that does not break the mobile experience for your website visitors. Large images are sized outside of Drupal to be the desired size when on the page. No dimensions should be entered in the Drupal interface. Doing so means they won't scale larger or smaller with the device.
    • Large images in a block (carousel, main image, etc.) are automatically mobile-friendly.
  • Tables are not be used for formatting, as this breaks the mobile experience.
  • Tables that appropriately display tabular content can still break mobile, especially if there are more than a few columns. Sometimes that is unavoidable, but consider putting the page into the Data Table content type, which is mobile friendly. 

Is the Link Text Helpful? Are Links Coded Properly? 

  • Link text is descriptive, not simply "click here" or "learn more."  
  • The link label matches its destination page title closely.
  • If the link goes to a page within the site, it is relative or internal, not absolute. Relative links do not include the domain; they begin after the first slash.

Is the Imagery Accessible, Appropriate, and Legal? 

  • Alt text is entered and is descriptive.
  • The image is appropriate and is an appropriate size.
  • Your agency has the rights to publish this image, and is tracking that information.  
  • Read more about accessibility.

Common Mistakes

  • Repeating the page title in the Body field at the top of the page. 
  • Adding returns to make content appear a certain way. With a mobile friendly page, anything done to make a page appear a certain way on desktop will appear incorrectly on other devices. 
  • Using tables in the text editor to desktop publish the page. This breaks mobile, and will likely only provide the desired format in one type of screen.  
  • Creating an accordion or tab when there is only one item to place in it. Accordions and tabs provide economical displays for a lot of content.  
  • Forgetting to check whether links work. 

Related Content Review

  • Main image: Use Main Image when you want to add interest to a Site Page, Document, Press Release or Event. Is there an image in the text editor that should instead be the main image?
  • Files/Attachments: If the files or attachment field is used, check the link, and also the title. If the title is the filename, is it appropriate?
  • Related Content: Use this field to bring attention to other content in your site that is related, as well as to off-site content. If linking within your own site, ensure the links are relative, not absolute.
  • Metadata: The Title Tag is automatically populated. The Meta Description can be crafted to drive search engine traffic to your page, or Google will use the first text it finds on the page that is in a text field. To add the Meta Description in Landing Pages, go to Meta Tags, just above the Save button. In other content types, click on the  Summary button above the Body (WYSIWYG) field. 160 characters is all that will appear on Google. 
  • Key Search Topics: The Key Search Topics field should be used very sparingly. It will push a page to the top of the site’s search results for any given word or phrase entered. Use it in two ways:
    • When a certain page must rise to the top of search results and it is not doing so. For example, a section of your site is about Very Important Topic. When a site visitor searches for Very Important Topic, search results sometimes float less important pages to the top. You can place one or several phrases into Key Search Topics to make it rise to the top.
    • When a certain page of your site is about a topic that your organization calls one thing, but your audience calls another. For example, the public searches for “bird flu” and your web page is named more scientifically “H1N1 Flu.”

Who is Publishing? 

Only Site Admins have permission to put a new page in the menu. Therefore, new Site Pages, Landing Pages, Data Tables and Webforms should only be published by Site Admins. Publisher and Site Manager roles have publishing rights, but should refrain from publishing new pages, because they will not have a right rail menu and be linked to the pages in the same section. 

New Press Releases, Events, Blogs and Documents that use taxonomy are automatically placed in a view page and thus do not  need to be placed in a menu. A Publisher or Site Manager may publish new pages of these content types.