How to Avoid Multiple Rounds of OWC Review When Creating New Resource Directories and Microsites

Below are some guidelines and requirements to keep in mind as you develop the content for your website.  We will send your site back to you for further work if we see that your site does not follow these guidelines.

Keep in mind that this document only discusses the most common issues that we see.  You should have read and be familiar with all provisions of all One EPA Web requirements/guidance.  Tables at the end of this page provide links to all requirements and guidance.  If we see issues other than those listed below, we may send your site back to you for further work.

1.  Limit content to focus on key audiences' top tasks ...

Pare your content down to eliminate ALL content that does not address the top tasks of top audiences.  Do not shift the entire content of your TSSMS account into Drupal.

2.  ... and focus every paragraph on top tasks

Do not include sentences that tell your visitors that EPA reached out to stakeholders in 2005, or include paragraphs describing how we celebrated the 20th anniversary of FIFRA in 2002.  This kind of text does not address your visitors' top tasks.

3.  Use plain language and be concise

Sentences should be no more than about 25 words, and often much shorter.  Paragraphs should be no more than about 70.  Use bulleted lists whenever you include a string of three or more terms or clauses.

  • Don't bury verbs.  For example don't say that "we will focus on implementing a plan to do x" when you can say "we will do X."
  • Use the active voice.  For example, say "we will do X" rather than "X will be done."

Read more:

4.  Create great page titles

a.   Create page titles that are unique.  Visitors coming straight from a search engine need to understand the precise scope of information on the page.  So, for example,:



Quality Assurance

Assuring Quality in the Cleanups of Federal Facilities, OR Quality Assurance in Federal Facility Cleanups

Community Relations

How EPA Communicates with Communities Following an Emergency

Technical Summaries

Technical Summaries of Selected Homeland Security Research Topics

If a visitor comes straight from a search engine to a resource directory page with the title "Quality Assurance" or "Contact Us", she might think that the page is the main Quality Assurance or Contact Us page for all of EPA.  Do not assume that your visitors will see the "hub link" to your resource directory home page (located above the page title on the left). 

Look at the examples above.  The titles in the left column don't give any indication of which EPA web area the page is in.  But if you read the titles in the right column, I'll bet you can guess which web areas they are in.  That is what you should aim for: a page title that is as specific as you can possibly make it, and that reflects the topic of your web area.

b.  Do not use unexplained acronyms or abbreviations in page titles:  Remember that some of your visitors may come straight from a search engine to your page.  Your visitors may feel lost if their search result takes them to a page called:

QUACK Meetings

Instead, let them know whether or not they are on the right page by using a more informative title:

Meetings of the Quality Undertakers Association of Central Kalamazoo (QUACK)

c.   Limit compound adjectives:  Avoid compound adjectives in your titles that include more than two words.  The phrase "Mercury Training and Resources Management Program Frequently Asked Questions" is a noun, "questions", with an eight-word compound adjective in front of it.  Phrases with long compound adjectives are difficult to understand; avoid them.  Instead, use "Frequently-Asked Questions about the Mercury Training and Resources Management Program."



Five Year Review Community Training Module Speaker Notes

Speaker Notes for the Community Training Module about Five-Year Reviews of Facilities

Hyphens should separate the words in a compound adjective, but not in compound nouns:

  • Compound adjective:  Refrigerants Used in Air-Conditioning Systems 
  • Compound noun:  Refrigerants Used in Air Conditioning

5.  Write clear headings

a.   Make your page heading sizes logical:  All section headings should be coded with <h2>.  Do not skip <h2> and go straight to <h3>.  All sub-section headings should be coded with <h3>, sub-sub-sections coded with <h4>, and so on.  Correct heading size is important for visitors who use screen readers; they will often set the screen readers to read only headings of particular sizes.  You can learn more about this on AccessibilityTips.comExit

b.   Don't link heading text.  Many visitors will not realize that a blue heading is linked text.

6.  Make sure your link text should match or almost match the content it goes to

Check all link text before you submit your site for review.  Here are two examples of link text that does not closely enough match the names of the destination pages:

  • Link text:  Specifications for Creating a PDF Version of Study Reports --> Page name:  E-submission resource documents for study document creation
  • Link text: MRIA requirements and procedures --> Page name:  Mustache Registration Manual: Chapter 5 - Registration Fees

7.  Use the wide template only when you really need it

Drupal's edit view includes a box to check if you want to display your content in the wide template.  Do not check the box unless you really need the wide template.

8.  Don't forget about your Contact Us page

  • Make sure the page title is in the format "Contact Us about Curly Mustaches".  It should not be "Contact Us" (because that would not be unique) or "Curly Mustaches Contact Us" (because that does not make sense grammatically).
  • A mailing address is required.  Don't forget to add it.
  • A phone number is recommended but NOT required.
  • A contact form is required; Drupal includes it on the page when the site is created.  Don't eliminate it.  Emails sent using the form will go to the Editor-in-Chief unless another address is coded into the form.
  • An email address is NOT required; the contact form is sufficient.

Read more:

9.  Use "(xx pp, yy K, About PDF)"  or "(PDF)" only if you are linking to a PDF

Pages that link to PDFs like document pages should include "(xx pp, yy K, About PDF)" next to the links to PDFs.  Links on basic pages to document pages should not include this information. 

Read more:

10.  Limit the number of bullets in a list

Your visitors' eyes will glaze over if you have more than about seven bullets in a row.  If you do, create sub-groups in your list, with headings for those sub-groups in appropriate heading sizes (usually but not always <h3>).

11.  Delete unwanted content before you submit for review

Review all your content in the Drupal Web CMS Dashboard and delete test pages or incomplete pages, so that when you do publish, you don't publish anything inadvertently.

One EPA Web PROCESS Guidance

Name of Guidance Document


Review and Approval of Web Content

  • Process guidance for all EPA web content

Transforming Web Content Step-by-Step Guide for Editors-in-Chief  Intranet

  • Process guidance for creating web content in Drupal

One EPA Web CONTENT Standards and Guidance

Name of Guidance Document


Communications Stylebook Writing Guide

  • Please pay particular attention to the section "What is the EPA Writing Style?"
  • Note that EPA also follows the AP Stylebook.

Image Guidance (PDF)

Microsite Guidance (PDF)

Resource Directory Guidance (PDF)

Section 508 Checklist   Intranet   Intranet

Should Your One EPA Web Content be a Resource Directory or Microsite? (PDF)   Intranet   Intranet

Web Standards

Web Style Guide

Writing for the Web Requirements

Note that you can take on-demand, online training at