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Web content publishing checklists

Ensure your content is user-focussed and accessible by reviewing our quality checklist.

All our content is to:

  • help Victorians to navigate government by providing news, events, grants, contacts and assistance information
  • tell the ‘story’ of government so Victorians can understand what’s happening and how they can access services
  • allow Victorians (including public servants) to help themselves and others by providing innovation opportunities, including freeing government information for reuse.

Check your content is hitting the mark by doing the following checks.

Publishing checklist

  • Before adding a new content page, ensure there is a clear purpose to the page/outcome for the user.

    Check Google TrendsExternal Link for keywords to use in your page title and description.

    Check the title is:

    • no longer than 70 characters
    • unique and descriptive. For example, don't use About us as a page title, use About Cladding Safety Victoria.

    Check the summary is:

    • no longer than 156 characters
    • meaningful and describes the content of the page using key words.

    Check meaningful sub-headings been used throughout the page.

  • Remember to write like a journalist! Don’t bury the lead or key messages of your content. Users want to get information as quickly as possible. Structure your page in order of:

    1. Need to know or essential information.
    2. Supporting information.
    3. Nice to know information.

    Remember only 25% of uses will scroll to the bottom of a page to get more detail.

  • Email addresses

    When an email address is hyperlinked, tapping/clicking on it will launch the user's email program and create a new email. To link to an email address:

    1. Select the email address and copy it.
    2. Click the Link icon on the toolbar (or Ctrl + K).
    3. Type mailto: into the URL field and paste the email address with no space between the colon and the email address (it will look like this:
    4. Click Save.

    Phone numbers

    When a phone number is hyperlinked, mobile users will be able to tap on a phone number to call it. To link a phone number:

    1. Select the number and copy it.
    2. With it still selected, click the Link icon on the toolbar (or Ctrl + K).
    3. Type 'tel:' into the URL field and paste in the phone number.
    4. Remove any spaces so it will look like this: tel:0370171234. We use the 03 area. We don't use +61 country code.
    5. Click Save.
  • Type the word or words that will form your link. Linked text should be descriptive (i.e. never use ‘click here’ as this isn’t accessible for screen reader users) and select them.

    • To link to an internal page (a page in the CMS/the website), click the Link icon on the toolbar (or Ctrl + K).
    • In the URL field, type the title of the page you want to link to. As you type, page titles will appear.

    Leave the Title field blank and leave Open in new window unchecked.

    Click Save.

  • Showing the hierarchy of content makes your page scannable.

    • Heading 1 is your page title.
    • Always start with Heading 2 in the content.
    • Then use H3 for sub-groupings under H2.

    This gives visual clues to the readers.

    It’s also important to meet accessibility guidelines for people using screen readers. They will scan the page headings and skip to relevant content sections.

  • HTML should be the default for all government information.

    • It's a better experience for users - they won't need to jump between website content and PDFs/Word documents to understand content.
    • Most people prefer to read web pages and avoid PDFs.
    • HTML pages receive more traffic and offer a better user experience.

    If you have to include a PDF or Word document, you also need a HTML version to meet accessibility.

  • If you create a new page, ensure its been added to the menu.

    Check the Site section navigation box is ticked and includes a menu title that reflects the front-end user experience.

    If you need a new menu created, contact the SDP content team.

  • Documents

    A HTML equivalent is available for Word or PDF documents.

    Our Publications templateExternal Link allows you to create an accessible online publication.

    If adding a download in addition to the online publication, check the following has been applied to the document:

    • correct branding is applied (at a minimum the document has the Victorian Government logo)
    • properties are applied e.g. title
    • the document has bookmarks, alt text on images, colour contrast and large font size
    • print to check it prints as expected.


    Meaningful text alternative been provided for informational images in the alt text field. If your alternative text is long and your image has lots of detail, use the complex image component. If the image is decorative image, use " " in the alternative text field.

    You also need to check the following when using images:

    • The image follows brand and style quality guidelines e.g. has people in the photo, adds meaning to the content, diversity of subjects.
    • The image is resized to 818 x 408px, for feature images and landscape-format images embedded in body content. Portrait-format images embedded in body content should be no taller than 400px or they will be automatically shrunk on display.
    • The image used appropriate and does it add more context/meaning to the content.
    • Permission has been granted to use the photo. (This is the content owner's responsibility but if concerned query it.)


    The video has been added to a hosting site like Vimeo or YouTube and has been embedded onto the page using the video module. Use the video module to include a video title, length and transcript.

    The video is close-captioned (accurately, not using auto-generated YouTube captions).


    Check the podcast provider has been added our security list:

    • Libsyn
    • Soundcloud
    • Acast

    Check there is a transcript for the audio file and it has been embedded using our audio module.

  • Check the content uses:

    Use an active voice (change the nouns to verbs)

    Using an active voice in your writing means the subject of the sentence comes first and performs the action the rest of the sentence describes.

    For example, say 'we manage the program' and 'we analyse data' not 'management of the program is undertaken by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.'

    Check the content reading level

    • Use the Hemingway EditorExternal Link to check the reading level, pick up complex sentences and common errors.
    • Aim for year 8 reading level.
    • Check for clarify and accuracy.
    • Eliminate redundancy.
    • Have all content styles been applied correctly e.g. buttons, callout, quotes?
    • Under site is and the appropriate subsite area selected?
    • Is an appropriate Topic been selected and an appropriate tag if available?
    • Is the latest version of the page published?
    • Check display on mobile as well as desktop.
    • Show content rating is ticked.
    • The background colour is white unless it is a navigational page and then grey should be selected.
    • Site section navigation box is ticked and includes a menu title that reflects the front end user experience.
    • No sidebars are showing that don't have any links or content in them e.g. What's next.

Reviewed 18 August 2022

SIngle Digital Presence

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