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Content conventions: consistency is key

One of the wonderful things about language is its constant evolution. People write their own way but there are rules; these rules help us understand what everyone else is saying.

With the advent of the internet and its rapidly changing language it can be difficult to keep track of the current convention of how to write for the web.

The helpful people at Hubspot have posted this style guide to assist content creators achieve consistency with their online writing [it’s interesting that the convention for online isn’t listed even though Google Chrome highlights it as misspelled].

I can’t say I agree with all of Hubspot’s recommended style conventions but it’s certainly a helpful resource.

These are my points of contention:

  • I will certainly never write “do’s and don’ts” although as Hubspot stipulate in their definition: “it will always cause the editors in your readership to have blinding migraines and send you hate mail, so try to avoid using this construction if at all possible”.
  • Also I use the term “media release” instead of the somewhat antiquated press release and I’ve never encountered “news release” as per their recommendation.
  • I am not a capitaliser of headings, I tend to the journalistic style of non-capitalised headings (see above).

I have a personal style manual that I use to ensure consistency across my writing. When I encounter ambiguous convention or inconsistent style I add my preference to the list.

In all writing consistency is the key, if you prefer one convention over another, commit to it, if not for life then throughout the entire document.

Hubspot have closed comments on their article, do you have anything you would like to add? Which curly conventions are in your personal style guide?


About Jane McKay @janemckaycomms

I’m Jane. I write. I design. I create. In 2009, following a tree-change to sunny East Gippsland, I realised a dream and started my own business through which I have freelanced my marketing services ever since. I understand that marketing your business can be overwhelming, overcomplicated and often overlooked. That’s why I’m here. With a range of expertise built on a Masters in Media and Communications and derived from more than 8 years’ industry experience working with small companies as well as large multi-nationals, I help businesses grow. A creative soul with a strong geek side, I combine my love of wordsmithing with an interest in all things design- and tech-related.The perfect combination of skills for my career in creative marketing.


2 thoughts on “Content conventions: consistency is key

  1. What about that word “that?” Can you add a rule that says we can remove the word “that” from 90% of our writings because when you delete that word, it doesn’t change the meaning of the statement one bit. How’s that?

    Posted by Jayme Soulati (@Soulati) | September 25, 2012, 1:13 am

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