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Style Guide - VAntage Point Blog

This style guide applies to all articles published via VAntage Point.

Headlines

  • Headlines should be in mixed case, with only proper nouns capitalized
    • Correct example:  VA secretary makes announcement on new program
    • Incorrect example:  VA Secretary Makes Announcement On New Program
  • Headlines should try to a reference to why this is important to Veterans.  Use “VA” or “Veteran” for reference where appropriate.
    • Correct example:  VA dietitians suggest homemade smoothies as a heart-healthy option
    • Incorrect example:  Homemade smoothies are heart-healthy
  • Put the relevant info in the headline, use the sub-head for context

Interior story Sub-heads

  • Use “Headline 4” to format any sub-heads inside the story
  • Mixed case applies here, too.

Author bios

  • If the author has a profile in the Word Press system, do not add an author bio.  It will be auto-generated in the post once you publish, as long as that bio has been added to their profile.
  • b.  Separate a hand-crafted bio with a horizontal rule.  Bios are in italics.
  • With photo:
    • Bio photos are justified left and no larger than 150 px tall.
    • Bio is sentence style and starts with the author’s name, then description.
  • Without photo:  Bio starts with “About the author:” followed by the name, then description.

Videos

  • Video posts still require a feature photo.
    • If the video is embedded at the top of the post, select “Video” under “Format” in the right nav menu.  This will keep the feature photo from appearing on the page.
    • If the video is embedded at the bottom of the post, leave the format as “Standard.”
  • Embedded videos should be the same size as a feature photo – 730 x 370.  This will require editing the embed code you’ve pasted into the text version of the blog to those dimensions.

Meta Data and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In order to ensure we are meeting meta data and SEO checks, please make sure you are doing the following:

  • Excerpt:  Please create an excerpt of the story and paste it into the Excerpt and Summary boxes.  This becomes the description of the blog that is pulled when it is 1) featured as a top story on VAntage Point; 2) posted as a link on Facebook; 3) shows up in Google/web searches.
  • Categories:  Please only select one primary category (Current primary categories are:  Health, VA Careers, Honoring Vets, Guest Posts).  You may select additional secondary categories from the list.
  • Tags:  Please add tags to your post.  The blog uses these to generate links to “related content” when you are on the blog’s page.
  • Author:  If the writer is a VA employee without a set profile, select VAntage Point Contributor.  If the writer does not work for VA, be sure to select Guest Posts as a primary category and VAntage Point Contributor as the author.

Writing Style

  • We use Associated Press style as our go-by, especially for titles.  The exception is the word Veterans, which is always capitalized.  (No Oxford comma!)
    • Incorrect example:  Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    • Correct example:  Robert Wilkie, secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • This is a blog and the writing is less formal.  Use “VA” in all references.  (You do not need to say “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)” on first reference.
  • PAUOA… Please avoid use of abbreviations.  If at all possible, please stay away from too many acronyms or initialisms in a single post.  Use other words to describe our offices, programs, etc.  If you add an abbreviation to a story, please be sure it’s used elsewhere.  If you don’t use it again, there’s no reason to share the abbreviation.
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