U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines

Writing Process

These are the best practices for writing high-quality Web content. These will help you with planning a page, evaluating your approach while you're writing, and reviewing it after you have a draft. Follow the steps below and also use the EERE Content Checklist to ensure that your content meets standards.

Before Writing a Page

  1. Determine the audience of the page. Who will use the information you want to provide?
  2. Determine the objective of the page.
    1. What message should the page convey?
    2. What does your audience want to accomplish when they visit your page? You may want to make a list of the "top tasks" and ensure that the page allows each task to be completed.
  3. Determine the scope of the content.
    1. Define what the page will and will not cover. New content should fulfill a need on EERE. Do not duplicate content that exists elsewhere on EERE. A simple search can help you find similar content on EERE; the EERE Information Architect can provide advice on more in-depth searches.
    2. Leverage existing EERE content through links, when possible. Write only the content needed by your audience and link to related content already on EERE.

While Writing

It's easy to get buried in the content and lose sight of the bigger picture during the writing process. Once you start writing, make an effort to occasionally stop and check in with your original goals.

  1. Check with the EERE Information Architect while writing to ensure that your content is optimized for search.
  2. Refer to your original objective and plan for the page.
  3. Refer to the EERE Style Guide when you have questions on style. The following is the hierarchy of style guides used for EERE content. Always refer to the EERE Style Guide first; if it doesn't answer your question, move onto the next resource in this order:
    1. EERE Style Guide
    2. The Associated Press Style Book (2006)
    3. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition)
    4. The Chicago Manual of Style (15th Edition)
  4. Refer to the EERE Content Checklist to ensure that your content meets standards.

After Writing

After a page is written, reevaluate the following:

  1. Does the page meet the objective?
  2. Does the page meet the needs of your audience?
  3. If you were an outside visitor, could you easily complete your "top tasks" using the content and/or links on this page?