Website Writing Guide

About this Guide

This Website Writing Guide provides advice, information, guidance and rulings on style for writers, editors and proofreaders of website content.

The need for a guide

About the authors


As with all dynamic Web resources, the Website Writing Guide is a work in progress.
Please use Contact us to provide feedback about the Guide and to make contributions to the content.

The need for a guide

This Guide was developed in response to the need for a single online resource that provides definitive rulings and advice on website writing style and rules.

It is absolutely necessary to establish a consistent written and editorial style for Web pages produced by an organisation. An inconsistent style will seem amateurish to the reader and distracts them.

The Australian Government Style Manual was the basic reference for this Guide. We also referred to the World Wide Web Consortium's rules and advice about accessible content and to other writers and researchers such as Jakob Nielsen.

About the authors

The first version of the Website Writing Guide, published in early 2009 was written by Steven Smith and David West. A great deal more content has been added to the Guide since it was first published.

Steven Smith has written widely about the Internet, has written a book, Living Websites and has delivered writing for the Web courses around Australia for the past seven years. In a previous life he was an English and History teacher. He is Director of Website Criteria Pty Ltd, the publisher and owner of the Website Writing Guide.

Updates and revisionsof this Guide are undertaken by Website Criteria Pty Ltd.


We wish to thank the South Australian Government for undertaking trials of the Guide and providing very helpful feedback on its drafts. In particular, we wish to thank Melissa Miller of the South Australian Environment Protection Authority who encouraged us in the early stages of the Guide.

Special thanks also to Andrew Mills, the South Australian Government’s Chief Information Officer and his staff, who have been generous in their feedback and willingness to trial the Guide.

Thanks to Terry Tooth for his usual meticulous proofreading.

The branding and website design concept is by BMD Design.

Web Developers, Plastyk Studio worked with the design concepts to produce this website.

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