Website Writing Guide

What to do and what to avoid

You will find here real examples from the Web of website text that highlights what to avoid and how to comply with the Guide.

Example : Australian Defence Force Web page

This example highlights a range of problems to avoid, from punctuation to presentation. Although the text is brief, it contains many writing practices and mistakes to avoid.

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The text of the example Web page is presented below the image to make it easy for you to read the text.

The text - as it appears in the page above. This page was captured in early August 2008.

The Australian Defence Force has approximately 3,500 members are deployed to nine overseas operations. Additionally, approximately 450-500 ADF are assigned to Operation RESOLUTE; protecting Australia’s borders and patrolling Australian waters, 80 Defence Force members are providing assistance to indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Defence will contribute up to 370 personnel in support of World Youth Day in July this year.

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Problems with presentation

  • This paragraph lacks a heading.
  • A bulleted list should have been used to present the various break-down of numbers.

Problems with style, punctuation, grammar and accuracy

  • The paragraph does not have a topic sentence introducing the topic of the paragraph.
  • The word ‘are’ in the first line should be deleted.
  • The semi-colon is used incorrectly - it should be replaced with a hyphen.
  • The writer assumes readers know what Operation RESOLUTE is. Understanding this is a prerequisite to understanding that the remainder of the paragraph is about domestic operations.
  • The breadcrumbs indicate that the paragraph is about ‘global operations’. Why then is there mention of the domestic operations eg – World Youth Day?
  • “…approximately 450-500 ADF are assigned…” the word ‘members’ should appear after ‘ADF’ – as used elsewhere in this paragraph.
  • “…approximately 450-500 ADF are assigned…” the word ' approximately’ is unnecessary as giving a range (450-500) indicates approximation – the first occurrence of the term 'approximately' is used correct.
  • If the acronym 'ADF' is to be used, it should appear in brackets immediately after the first occurrence of the full name ie – "The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has...."
  • Is ‘Defence’ the same as the 'ADF', and are these the same as 'Defence Force'? If there are differences they should be explained, otherwise the same term should be used throughout.
  • The reference to World Youth Day is out-of-date so should be deleted.

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  • A better-practice solution


Deployment of ADF members

Australian Defence Force (ADF) members are deployed overseas and domestically:

  • approximately 3,500 in nine overseas operations
  • about 475 assigned to Operation RESOLUTE - protecting Australia’s borders and patrolling Australian waters
  • eighty providing assistance to indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

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