Website Style Rules and Guidelines

Website Style Rules and Guidelines

This page contains  information for web site authors. The rules and guidelines below are meant to ensure that new content for the site actually looks like it belongs on the site, not that it came from outer space.


  • The information here is subject to change without notice.
  • Each of these rules and guidelines has a rationale. If you don’t understand why a rule is set down, please contact the management.
  • If site content is found that fails to conform with these guidelines, it may be removed or reformatted at the Webmaster’s discretion.

The Rules

  1. Article titles are to be written in “title case” for easier reading. That is:
    1. The first and last words of the title are always capitalized;
    2. Other than the first letter of each word, any letters on the interior of the word are not capitalized unless they are part of a formal name.
    3. The words a, an, the, at, by, for, in, of, on, to, up, and, as, but, it, or, and nor are not capitalized unless at the beginning or end of a title.
  2. Let Joomla format your stuff. DO NOT add colors, bold-face paragraphs, new and funky fonts, animations, moving parts, or other markup/CSS that makes your stuff different from the rest of the site.
  3. DO NOT copy and paste from a word processor directly into the website editor, as this will bring along all the formatting from the word processor. ALWAYS USE “Paste without formatting” to insert text copied from anywhere else.
  4. Phone numbers: include area code separated from the number by a dash, e.g., 919-542-1234. The area code is required in North Carolina. Using parentheses may imply the area code is optional.
  5. Times: separate “a.m.” or “p.m.” by a space from the hour and minute, e.g., “1:30 p.m.”
  6. When paraphrasing or copying stuff from another web site, just provide a link to it (a link that opens in a different page – see next item), either directly or within a short article/page about the significance of the information to Fearrington residents. Linking to an external web site with relevant information is better because if the external site changes, we don’t have to be aware of it; the link means the change will be evident to anyone who follows the link.
  7. If you include a link to another site: in the “Insert/edit link” window, set the Target attribute to “Open in a new window”. We do not want people navigating off our site, because they may not know how to get back. And they may confuse the linked-to site as belonging to us.
  8. Pictures and other graphics for the site need to be appropriately sized. Before uploading them, subject them to your favorite photo editor and reduce them. A too-large graphic can throw off the containment of the content that includes the graphic rendering the right edge of the text unreadable. This is a function of browsers and not under our control. Your graphics should be resized to be:
    • at most six (6) inches wide (so it doesn’t cause text to be truncated) and
    • 72 pixels resolution (this is a browser, not the Louvre).
    • (Ergo 432 pixels, max: 6″ x 72 px/in)

    If you don’t have a photo editor, I recommend Irfanview. It’s free and it’s easy to resize photos with it: open the photo and click CTRL-R.

  9. Similarly, HTML tables should be no wider than about 800 pixels wide or they will overrun the allocated space in a small screen (or a large screen with large print) and the right edge will be truncated.
  10. And if you line up a table beside a graphic, their combined width should not exceed 800 pixels.
  11. Speaking of tables: They can be fun and are easy to set things on a page, but they have limitations and are not a perfect tool. If tables are used, they MAY be reformatted by Management using CSS to conform with site conventions and the Joomla template we use.
  12. Text you write should be simple and easy to understand. Web-friendly text ought to be written at an 8-10th grade level. To check a block of text, edit-copy it, then edit-paste it into a site like
  13. A list of best practices for web design is at
  14. A more comprehensive guide to web design for usability for aspiring web site designers is here:
  15. LONG URLs mess up page formatting by pushing the right margin enough farther right that people can not see part of the right navigation unless they scroll horizontally. This makes for an awful web experience. If you have a LONG (more than 40 characters) URL included in your article, please use Google’s URL shortener ( to shorten it. It’s quick and easy. This is done automatically in the site’s Bulletin Board, but that’s code we wrote, so we can trap longer URLs and fix them. For articles we need authors to do the shortening manually.

That’s all for now. More to come as we gain more experience with user-generated content. Thanks for your attention.