Taxonomy

Topical Categories

Categories help designate where this post should go go within the McIntire website properties. For example: posts tagged with "Student Life" will automatically be featured on the Student Experience portion of the McIntire website.

There are 10 available categories:

  • Student Life
  • Academic
  • Admissions
  • Career
  • Tips for Success
  • Charlottesville
  • Global
  • Diversity
  • Alumni
  • Faculty

For the blog to be a success, we need content across all of these categories however we recommend working together to ensure content is created to address all topics.

Writing Your Post

Audience

When writing for the blog, always keep prospective students in mind. They’re your audience:

  • What do they want to know? 
  • What kind of information can you give them that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • What did you want to know when you were a prospective student?

Themes

Make your posts topical (according to 10 defined taxonomies—what are they?) and seasonal. Posts can fall into these categories:

  • Diary: a first person, day in the life account
  • News You Can Use: insider information about McIntire by students for prospective students
  • Listicle: a theme augmented by bulleted lists
  • Interviews: featuring students, faculty members or McIntire staff

Basics

  • Write all posts in first person (we, I)
  • Address your reader where appropriate (the prospective student!).
  • Keep posts under 500 words
  • Determine a clear topic for your post
  • Include a clear call to action (CTA) on pages where you are asking users to do something
  • Think about the words you’d use to find your blog post, and be sure to include those words in your post
  • Make mentions of McIntire, Charlottesville, professors by name, classes by name, and other nouns that help tell the story of the student experience. Take risks! Avoid trite phrases and express your point of view
  • Take risks! Avoid trite phrases and express your point of view.

Be Brief 

  • Essential points and facts come first: don’t bury the lede.
  • Adjectives and adverbs add length and slow the pace.
  • Cut out the superfluous.
  • Make your verbs do the work.
  • Use active voice and concrete language.
  • Use contractions.
  • Write tight
  • Avoid jargon.

Write for Accessibility

McIntire web content must comply with the University’s Web Accessibility Guidelines  to ensure that all audiences can access our content.  Write at an 8th grade reading level — as measured by the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level scale — in order to reach as many people as possible. 

You can check if your copy’s accessible these ways:

  • Mac: under spell check/readability statistics
  • MS Word: Proofing/Show readability statistics 

You can find more detailed instructions at MS Office Support.

Blog Post | Elements

Titling Your Post

  • Use active voice
  • Choose a title that is compelling (no more than 12 words)
  • Avoid filler words (but, and, like, etc.). 
  • Put the keyword in the post title. 
  • Use examples of successful past posts to guide your word choice. 

Excerpt/Teaser

Create a custom excerpt of 30-40 words — either the first couple of sentences or an introduction to the topic. 

Headings 

Don’t use boldface for headings. Instead, use <h> tags. <h2> is the first level heading, and so on.

Internal Links

Internal links are links to other blog posts or pages within McIntire’s site. Incorporate a handful of internal links (no more than four) per blog post or page. Internal linking helps readers jump around from page to page on your site, increases link authority, and helps search engines to index your blog posts.

Without overloading your page with internal links, suggest a hyperlink for a few relevant items (a professor’s CV page, a coffee shop website, a news article).

Keywords

Each post should have a theme cataloged by one or two keywords. Here are some keywords to get you started:

  • Program name: e.g. M.S. Commerce
  • Charlottesville
  • UVA
  • University of Virginia
  • Faculty member names
  • Class name
  • Class topic: entrepreneurship, business analytics, IT, etc

Media

  • Blog authors should submit a photo to accompany the blog post in the highest resolution possible. If sending from an iPhone, choose “Actual Size.”
  • Hero (primary image at the top) images should be no more than 1400px wide and less than 350kb. Be mindful of image orientation and "margin" - teaser images are displayed in a fixed 5:3 aspect ratio. 
  • Inline images should be no more than 1200px wide and  less than 300kb. These should always include a caption (which would include image attribution). 
  • Videos are encouraged! 

Meta Description

This is a brief description of your post. Search engines display the meta description in search results, so make it interesting!

  • Include your keyword(s).
  • Keep it under 160 characters.

Optimizing Posts

Optimize your page for search by putting your keywords in strategic areas of the site:

  • In the page title
  • In the URL of the page
  • In an H1 heading
  • In an H2 heading
  • At the beginning of the first paragraph
  • In a link
  • In the alt tag of an image

In body copy, use your judgment. Include keywords if it flows well and makes sense. 

Post URL

URLs are an SEO opportunity. You should edit the default URL on your post before it goes live. 

  • Delete filler words with no SEO value like “the,” “of,” “and.”
  • Use keywords and search phrases like “mcintire-ms-commerce.”

Sunset Date

If your post is time-sensitive or only relevant for a certain period of time, set a sunset date for these posts to archive them.

Capitalization, Grammar, Punctuation, Usage

Addresses

Use United States in all mailing addresses.

Adviser

Unless “Advisor” is how the person or company spells it as part of his or her official title, we use “adviser.”

Buildings

  • Rouss & Robertson Halls (use ampersand and pluralize “Halls”).
  • Do not refer to the facilities as “building”; two buildings form the facilities.

Colons

  • Add one space after colons.
  • If a full sentence follows the colon, leave a space and capitalize the first word of the sentence.

Commas 

While it diverges from the AP Stylebook, McIntire uses the serial comma. That is, in a list of three or more items, include the comma before “and.”

Example: apples, bananas, and oranges.

Commas in Clauses

Use a comma before the conjunction when the sentence contains two independent clauses.

Dates

  • When listing dates, use the following format: day, month, year (Friday, January 1, 2009).
  • Spell out months.
  • Spell out days of the week.
  • Abbreviate days and months in lists of dates: Class dates: Fri., Jan. 1, Tues., Feb. 27.
  • Year span: full year, then last two digits: (2019-20)

See AP Stylebook for more guidance on this topic.

Headings

  • In displayed headings and titles, capitalize all words with four or more letters.
  • Also capitalize words with fewer than four letters except for the following:
  • Articles: the, a, an
  • Short conjunctions: and, as, but, if, or, nor
  • Short prepositions: at, by, for, in, of, off, on, out, to, up
  • Linked directions to read more or find out more are not considered headings and only the first word should be capitalized. Example: “Read her story.”

Links

Use active, clear language to label links. Think of your text like a set of directions. The more concrete and action-oriented the directions, the more likely you are to find your way.

Vague: “More information”
Better: “Find related events”

Lists

Introduce lists with a colon, unless they directly follow a heading.

Bulleted Lists 

  • Bulleted lists can make your copy easy to scan, but only if you present the information in a consistent way. 
  • If a list makes more sense as a punctuated sentence, keep it as-is. 
  • Use parallel construction 
  • Use end punctuation on lists that contain complete sentences.
  • Do not use end punctuation on lists that contain sentence fragments.

Numbered Lists

Only use a numbered list if you’re describing steps in a sequential process.

McIntire Program Names

  • B.S. in Commerce Program
  • M.S. in Commerce Program
  • Note: do not use “Master’s in Management “to describe M.S. in Commerce Program
  • M.S. in Global Commerce Program
  • M.S. in Accounting Program
  • M.S. in the management of Information Technology Program, M.S. in MIT Program

McIntire School of Commerce

  • On first instance refer to “the McIntire School of Commerce” and after that, “the School.”
  • Names: Titles
  • When writing about a person, use their full name and title on first reference. After that, refer to them by their last name. 
  • Use uppercase for all job titles regardless of where they’re placed in a sentence.

Numbers

  • Spell out all numbers under 10. 
  • Use figures for all numbers above nine. See the AP Stylebook for exceptions to this rule.
  • Use # not No. (e.g. ranked #3)

UVA

Refer to the University of Virginia as UVA or the University

Phone Numbers

Use +1 in phone numbers and dashes, (e.g. +1-434-123-4567)

Photography | Choices

Vet photography so that it’s sensitive to an international audience. Colors, gestures, clothing and photo composition can mean different things in different cultural contexts. Before posting check with a representative of the McIntire Marketing and Communications unit.

Skill Set

We use two words: skill set, not skillset​

Study Abroad

When writing about study abroad programs, try to minimize the use of “trip” or “during their trip.”

Spacing

Use only one space after a period, colon or semicolon.

Times

  • Time format: 1:15 p.m. or 7 p.m. (use periods with space after the numeral(s))
  • Range of times: 5-6 p.m. (single dash, no spaces)
  • Day ranges: Monday-Friday (single dash, no spaces)

Titles | McIntire Faculty

We refer to all teaching faculty as Professor, even if Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, etc. is their official title for all public-facing writing.

Tracks

Use uppercase when full track name is used (e.g. Real Estate Track)

URL Format

URLs are embedded, not spelled out.

Blog Post Checklist

Before posting, check that your post has the following:

  • Teaser blurb
  • Metadata
  • Shorty, punchy title
  • Image
  • SEO-friendly URL