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The purpose of this informal document is to help people responsible for producing and updating content on to produce consistent, accessible, discoverable and attractive web pages.

Summary - if you read nothing else, read this bit!

  1. Think of your audience - prospective and current students, prospective and current academic and administrative staff, alumni, industrial partners and the general public. Short, clear sentences and paragraphs work best.
  2. Think of how they’re reaching the site. ⅔ of our users come in via google, and ½ of them have visited the site before. Ensure that likely search terms are in the titles, headings and content of your pages.
  3. Think of how they’re reading the site. ¼ of our users use mobile devices. On average, users stay for 3 minutes, and read 3 pages per visit. Keep pages short (ideally 1-2 screens length on a desktop/laptop).
  4. Photographs and other visuals can engage more effectively than text on an emotional level - they can also explain complex concepts. Use photographs and visuals wherever possible - but make sure you have permission.


Your obligations

By publishing on, you are representing the Faculty of Mathematics. We have a legal obligation to produce accurate and accessible content. If the information you provide conflicts with or extends our formal provisions, such as the university’s Statutes and Ordinances, or the Schedules of Lecture Courses and Form of Examinations for the Mathematical Tripos, we risk a legal challenge, and you may have to give evidence at a tribunal. Before you publish new content, check to see if an authoritative version of the information already exists on the site. If it does, link to it rather than duplicating it. If you are in any doubt over the accuracy of the information you’ve published or updated, check first.

Writing for the Web

  • Who is the information for?
  • How will they be looking for it?
  • What will they want to do on the website?


Research has shown that reading from a computer screen is 25% slower than from print. You can help your users to efficiently locate the information they are looking for by adhering to the following principles:

  • avoid jargon and provide explanations for terms used
  • be consistent in language and style
  • make page and content headings meaningful - if it is not what users are seeking, they can move on without reading further
  • highlight key information with bold or bulleted and numbered lists
  • limit each paragraph to one idea and state what it is in the first sentence
  • don’t mix second and third person, or the impersonal: you/they
  • avoid passive phrases, eg. 'The University requires that .....", rather than "Students are required by the University to .... "
  • where substantial content is required, precede this with a summary
  • organise information into multiple pages with an index, rather than one long page and avoid large tables of data
  • avoid repetition, excess verbiage, superlatives and vague claims
  • many users access sites directly from search engines bypassing your website structure. Pages in this context should be meaningful and stand-alone.

Search Engine Optimisation

Of the 3,000 people who visit every day, 2,000 arrive following a Google search. 1,500 of them have already visited the site once before - so they’re repeatedly using Google as a gateway to the site. It’s therefore vital for us to appear as high as possible in Google searches. The best ways to do this are as follows:

  • Imagine the terms that people will use to find your content. For instance “phd requirements cambridge maths” or “who was the first lucasian professor”.
  • Ensure that these words can be found in (some combination of) the page title, the page headline and the first paragraph of text.
  • Link to relevant content on external websites - and if external sites could be linked to your content, email a request for a link back to your page.

Creating pages

The simplest page type is a "Basic Page": there's a title, a short description (optional but recommended), and the body of the page. Create one by following the "Add content" link in the grey menu bar and choosing 'Basic Page'.

The title should describe the content on the page, and contain the terms that people will use to search for the content, such as “CATAM project submission deadlines” or “HEP Group seminar series”. The Short Description can be a couple of sentences which summarise the content, which may appear in search results, such as “Dates, delivery addresses and requirements for the Part IB CATAM project, Lent Term 2017”, or “Seminar series which takes place each Tuesday at 2PM during term time”.

The main content of your page can be created in the “Body” text editor, with most of the controls familiar to anyone who has used a word processor.

Don't forget to use the "Save" button at the bottom of the page to save your work.

Adding images

Great photography can increase engagement with your page, and other visuals such as diagrams can explain difficult concepts clearly. However, you must ensure that the University has the right to use any images we publish - any unauthorised use will be discovered, and the financial penalties are severe.

We have collected a library of images which are authorised for us to use. They can be browsed, searched and downloaded from this location: for you to upload to your page.

If you wish to publish a new image, ask the person who created it to email it to, with the following text in the email body:

“I am the creator of this work.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Please ensure that individuals who are prominent and identifiable in images are aware and content for them to be used. Although there is no legal requirement for model release forms in the UK, we should be sensitive to people’s wishes. For this reason, you should avoid featuring images of children, unless specific arrangements have been put in place beforehand. 

Adding video

Well-produced video can be an effective and engaging medium. You can embed youtube videos on your page, although the process is cumbersome.

  • Visit the youtube page of the video you wish to embed. Click “Share” then “Embed”
  • Untick “Show suggested videos when the video finishes” and “Show video title and player actions”, then click “Copy”


In drupal, create a new page, or open the page you wish to edit. Position your cursor at the point you’d like to embed the video, then press “return” or “enter” to create a new paragraph. Then click “Source”.


You should be able to find the paragraph you’ve just created (it will appear as <p>&nbsp;</p>). 


Delete the “<p>&nbsp;</p>” text, then paste in the embed code you copied from the video’s youtube page:

Click “Source” again. You will see an “IFRAME” rectangle, showing you where your video will appear, and you will be able to view the live page with embedded video once you’ve saved and published your page.

(As an aside, the cost of producing a video varies with the amount of editing as well as the length of time. Recording a full-day lecture-style event might cost around £1000; filming for an hour and editing to produce a ten minute, interview-style video might cost around £500.)