Content & Editorial Style

The SCC online editorial style is a set of guidelines that editors use to help make our website as consistent and effective as possible.

Writing for the Web | Content Styles/Syntax

Writing for the Web

Online users don’t read.

They scan text, looking for keywords, sentences, and paragraphs that are meaningful to them. Learn how to write text that’s scannable, allowing your users to understand and retain your message better.

Effective writing for the web requires special techniques based on research.

  • Use the inverted pyramid.
  • Write simply.
  • Limit yourself to one idea per paragraph.
  • Break texts into lists.
  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Highlight keywords.

Watch the following 12:39 video for all the details. It will show you how to improve user experience by making your text easy to scan and read.

Content Styles/Syntax

Email Addresses

First and last initials should be capitalized in all email addresses. Example: NameF@scc.losrios.edu OR Firstname. Lastname@scc.losrios.edu

To create an active link for an email in content text, select the email and click on the Insert/Edit Link icon WordPress link icon. In the Link Field replace the http:// with mailto: (WordPress does this automatically.)

Example

  • mailto:NameT@scc.losrios.edu

Phone Numbers

Two dashes (hyphens), no parentheses. Example: 916-558-1234

To create an active link for a phone number in content text, select the number and click on the Insert/Edit Link icon WordPress link icon. In the Link Field replace the http:// with tel:. Note: it is recommended that you include the area code in the link, even if it does not appear in the text.

Example

  • tel:9165581234

Office Hours

Days should be spelled out, followed by a colon, then the hours. An en dash (see Dashes section below) with spaces before and after is preferable between days/times, if possible on your keyboard. The “am” and “pm” indicators should be lower case, without periods, with a space between the hours and indicators. Top of the hour times should not include “:00” Example: Monday – Friday: 8 am – 4:30 pm

Program Pages: Degrees

Associate degrees should be indicated with an AA or AS (no periods) instead of A.A. or A.S. Transfer degrees should be indicated with an AA-T or AS-T (no periods). Certificates of Achievement and Certificates should be indicated by a COA or a C respectively. Any references to higher level degrees at transfer institutions should also be without periods (MA, MS, MFA, PhD, EdD, etc.).

Academic Abbreviations

Titles and Degree abbreviations following a faculty or staff member’s name should not include periods. Examples: PhD instead of Ph.D., MA instead of M.A.

Area Names

When naming a specific area, capitalize the area name and “office,” “department,” “center,” or “division” when it follows the name of the area. When standing alone, do not capitalize the word.

Correct

Language and Literature Division Resources are available in the English Department through the end of the month. Please visit the department office for more information about the workshop.

Incorrect

Advanced Technology division This poster was designed by the Graphic Communication department. Please visit the Division Office for more information about the workshop.

Building and Room Numbers

Use identifying terms (“hall,” “building,” “center,” “gym” “gallery”) as appropriate to identify facilities. After the name of the building use a comma, followed by the three-character building abbreviation, a space and the room number.

Correct

  • Rodda Hall North, RHN 258
  • Technology Building, TEC 105
  • North Gym, NOG 119
  • Performing Arts Center, PAC 202

Incorrect

  • Rodda North 258 or just RHN258
  • Technology, 105
  • North Gym – 119
  • Performing Arts Center, Room 202 or PAC-202

Dashes

There are three types of dashes:

  • Hyphens (-) are used for hyphenated words and phone numbers. Use the standard hyphen key.
  • En dashes (–) are used to indicate duration, such as between days or times. Don’t use spaces around the en dash.
  • Em Dashes (—) are commonly used in place of a parentheses in a sentence, such as “Janet Jones—an exceptional student—was always on time.” Don’t use spaces around the em dash.

How to type en and em dashes

On a Mac

  • En-dash: Option-hyphen
  • Em-dash: Shift-Option-hyphen

On a PC

If you’ve got a desktop keyboard with a number pad on the right, you can press the Alt key down while typing a sequence of numbers on the number pad. This will give you access to all kinds of special characters.

  • En-dash: Alt-0150
  • Em-dash: Alt-0151

PC laptop keyboards do not provide an easy way to do create en dashes, so you can use hyphens instead. For em dashes you can type double hyphens.

Job Titles

In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name.

Lowercase

Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an individual’s name: The vice president issued a statement. The supervisor gave permission to leave.

Uppercase

President, Chancellor, and District should be capitalized in all instances: The President attended a meeting last week at the District. The Chancellor advocated for college students at the conference.

Lowercase and spell out titles in constructions that set them off from a name by commas: The vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, declined to run again. Dean John Smith, the current dean, does not plan to retire.

Formal Titles

Capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names: Department Chair Jane Doe, Vice President John Smith, and Professor Joe Jones were in attendance.

A formal title is generally one that denotes an official job title under Sacramento City College and Los Rios Community College District.

Day, Month, Year

Day

Capitalize, do not abbreviate, except when needed in an unusual, tabular, or grid format (such as a calendar). In this case use the three-letter forms without a period: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun.

Do not use rd, th, or st after dates (1st, 15th, 23rd ).

Month

Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone.

When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

In an unusual, tabular, or grid format (such as a calendar), use these three-letter forms without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Year

Use figures, without commas: 2014. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with a comma. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s.

Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numerals that a figure is not used to start a sentence: 1976 was a very good year.

Correct

  • January 2014 was a cold month.
  • Monday, Jan. 2, was the coldest day.
  • May 8 is his birthday.
  • She was born on April 13.
  • It was Friday, Dec. 3, when he died.
  • Feb. 14, 2015, was the target date.

Incorrect

  • Jan. 2014 was a cold month.
  • Mon., Jan. 2 was the coldest day.
  • May 8, is his birthday.
  • She was born on April 13th.
  • It was Friday, Dec. 3 when he died.
  • February 14, 2015 was the target date