Creating good online content

This checklist is intended for those who produce, publish and maintain content on NTNU's online services. The focus of this article is creating useful content for users as well as for NTNU.

Norsk versjon - Lage godt innhold på nett

Topic page about web | Pages labelled with web

Three important principles:

Readers should be able to:

  1. find content easily: Tag content, use good headings and page titles.
  2. quickly read and understand our content: Be concise, use plain language, and structure the content well. These rules apply primarily to portals and navigation pages, while more detailed pages for your research are often appropriate.
  3. avoid old and outdated information: Follow routines for deleting and updating content you are responsible for.

Content and process

Planning your content

  • Who needs the content? Find the target audience!
  • Find the user tasks. What should the user achieve, perform, bring about or solve? If the content does not support real user needs, you should reconsider it.
  • Goal: What do you want to achieve with the webpage? And does the content support NTNU's strategic goals?
  • Collaboration with others. Find out who has interests, who are experts or whether you should coordinate your efforts with other departments.
  • Get an overview of the topic. What exists already?
  • Where should the content be placed? News? Message on Inside? Blog? Calendar entry? Bookmark? Document? External web or wiki page? Consider this with your webmaster.
  • Find good keywords (keywords, tags, trigger words). These are words and expressions that the user associates with the content.
  • For business-critical content, we always carry out a usability test. We scale the scope of the test based on what is appropriate.
  • Should the content be translated into another language?
  • Is there content in attachments that should be rewritten and added as html? Is there a form that can be digitized?


  • Think carefully about whether you need to publish news items on the website. Users are generally rarely interested in reading news stories. They are usually looking for content that solves a task. News should never be used as a substitute for permanent content.
  • Discuss with others. Use your newsroom, messaging channels or colleagues.
  • Write a draft and work on the text together with others.

Find a great heading

Write short and precise titles. The user must understand what the page is about by just reading the title

  • Include the signal word in the title: If you are writing about travel expenses, include the word "travel expenses" in the title as this is the word we are looking for.
  • Call a spade a spade: If you mean "heartburn", write "heartburn" and not "reflux of stomach juices into the esophagus". The title becomes part of the page's URL.
  • Mark local content: If the content is local and only applies to a unit or department, you can use the acronym for the unit at the end of the title, e.g.: "Application requirements for research term at NV", or "Research funds at MH".


  • Spend time on the title. This is a very important and central part of the content. Discuss with others.


  • Characters: / , ? ” ’ > – < (page locks)
  • Difficult words, concepts and technical terms that users are not familiar with

Write a great text

  • When we work with the content, we imagine that we will solve a task for the user. This is how we avoid writing passive informational texts. We want the content to provide a clear answer to the task that the user has to solve.
  • We are confident, precise, sober and honest and avoid "advertising" language. We like to write "you" and "we". We do not use difficult technical terms and tribal language without the terms being explained.
  • The title should be descriptive of the content, it should start with a meaningful word.
  • The first sentence (introduction) must be short and to the point. The reader should know what the essence of the text is already here. Ideal length is 160 characters. See also: How to write the first sentence in a wiki page in Innsida (Norw. only)
  • The main point is placed first in the content. The content must then have decreasing importance.
  • The content is divided into small paragraphs with one point in each. Good text design involves bulleted lists and highlighting important trigger words.
  • Use good subheadings to facilitate the readability of the text (Norw. only)
  • The design of link texts is important. They must be meaningful and actively formulated. How to write good link texts (Norw. only)
  • Activate the language: We don't write "the research project aims to focus on..." when we can write "in this project we are researching how..."
  • "Show it, don't tell it". If we want to show successes - show examples and not exaggerated claims (bragging).
  • Use images of a documentary nature that support the content well. See chapter 2.1 for good use of images and graphics.

Tips and useful tools:

Checklist before publishing the content

  • Is this content tailored to the target audience?
  • Does thos content emphasize important points?
  • Is this language understandable for the user?
  • Does this content have a good, scannable structure and design?
  • Rework your content - Take 5 minutes to read through your page, and remove unnecessary words and sentences. If you didn't remove anything, consider having someone else check the quality and usefulness of the content.
  • Double check the content for misspellings. Have someone else proofread it for you.
  • Check that the page follows the guidelines for universal design.

After publishing

All content at NTNU is part of an “ecosystem”. Once created and published it must be updated, reworked, and eventually deleted or archived. As content producers we must all commit to systematically follow all content through this cycle — this is the only way to keep things under control. The alternative is a junkyard that no one wants to sort through.

Be accountable for updates

Update, update, update. All content should be updated at all times.

  • Make sure that an individual has been formally identified as responsible for the page.
  • Always set a date for when the content should be revised.
  • Crucial and frequently used content should be carefully monitored.

Statistics and feedback are important when you revise content. It can also be smart to work with others at NTNU, and review each other's content.

Content should be available when needed

NTNU's academic calendar contains many deadlines and repeating events: application deadlines, exam deadlines, enrollment and registration, research documentation and budget deadlines. Those of use who work with seasonal content should make a yearly plan for reviewing relevent content updating it.

The content must be available when requested. For example, as early as March, students will be interested in knowing when the autumn semester starts, so that they can plan holidays and summer jobs. An annual wheel helps us stay ahead of the curve. Following the logs for search traffic is useful when setting up a year wheel. There we see which words are searched for the most at different times of the year.

Archiving and deleting content

  • All content that is not applicable must be deleted or archived. How to archive webpages (Norw. only)
  • Some types of outdated content may have archive value for a few years. This is, for example, information about conferences, completed research projects and news.
  • Content that has historical value beyond a few years is then moved to a separate archive that will be searchable.
  • When deleting, we always consider whether it is appropriate to redirect to newer or related content.

Translation guidelines

  • All content that pertains to international users and foreign students and employees should be translated. We must have routines for translation.
  • For critical content, the translation should be checked by someone with impeccable proofreading skills.
  • Work with your translation. Direct translation from Norwegian to English doesn't work well. English language is often more polite, so direct translations can seem crass and impolite.
  • If you have a website with English-only content, make sure to have at least one page in Norwegian where you summarize the most important information and key words as well as links to the English website. Ensure that the your content can be found when Norwegian users search with Norwegian terms.
  • The law states that our external webpages must have both written forms of Norwegian (bokmål and nynorsk) in at least 25% of texts. (This law does not apply to the intranet).

NTNU's English style guide can be a good starting point for more concise language.

Don't abandon Norwegian!

NTNU has a responsibility to contribute to the development of the Norwegian language and Norwegian academic terminology. Avoid using English where Norwegian can be used. See NTNU's guidelines for language policies.

More information on

Content for tablets and smartphones

It is important that NTNU's core content is accessed via the most used digital surfaces (PC, mobile devices and reading tablets). Remember to test that the content works on these devices, there is functionality for this in the publishing tool.

Content strategy

This checklist is a part of NTNU's content strategy (Norw. only).