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Writing an Effective News Post

The following pointers offer guidance in improving readability, usability, and searchability of your website's news posts.

Answer Who, What, When, Where, Why

And do it as early as possible in your news post. Typically, this is done in your first sentence/paragraph.

Put Most Important Details First

Remember the inverted pyramid? It works for the Web, too. News posts don't have to be short, but keep the important details near the top, as many may not read to the end.

Put Your News in Context

Make a quicklink to your department/office website and to any pages on your site relating to the news item. (Remember that some people may not be reading this news item in the context of your website.)

Briefly describe topics the average reader may not be familiar with, in addition to linking to a related page. (Some readers may not follow the link.)

Make Your Office/Department Prominent

The title, which acts as a headline, and summary are searchable by Google. Include terms that help to direct traffic to your website. Rather than the headline Student Presents Research, use Chemistry Student Presents Research or, better yet, Chemistry Student Presents Crystallography Research.

Explain Your Office/Department's Involvement

If it's not obvious why your department or office is making the announcement, explain its involvement. Is your office an event sponsor? Is someone from your office coordinating the event?

What's the News?

Every news item should have a "hook"—a reason why people should be reading it right now. Examples: upcoming event, program change, registration deadline, new leadership, etc.

Don't Use News as a Catchall

News is for announcements. Don't use your news section as a storage area for content you don't know where to put. Distinguish between news and permanent content.

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