George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Do's and Don'ts

Whether you're an experienced or novice writer, this list of things to do and things to avoid will help you streamline your writing, as well as make it approachable and user-friendly.

Things to Do

  • Make content easy and quick to read.
  • Use concrete words, i.e. referring to objects or events rather than concepts like "hope" or "creativity".
  • Give your users the information they want.
  • Consider single lines of text to convey important points.
  • Write to your audience. A page made for college students shouldn't be written for college professors.
  • Engage with the reader.
  • Make sure each page stands on its own.
  • If information is on a website, make it evergreen—always relevant.
  • Use descriptive titles, not "clever" ones. They're not good for search engine optimization.

Things Not to Do

  • Don't use buzzwords, abstract terms, or scholarly jargon.
  • Don't scatter connected information across several pages.
  • Don't bury important information in large paragraphs or crowded pages. If it's something every user should see, put it front and center.
  • Don’t be nebulous; be specific. Simpler is better.
  • Don't be a rambling rose. See if you can cut some words or a sentence. If you can remove padding, you’re more likely to keep the readers' interest long enough for them to feel a connection with Mason.
  • Don't repeat yourself on the page or on your site.
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