When writing content for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) websites and applications, follow these requirements. Also see EERE's web writing best practices, as well as federal requirements for websites.
Always follow the requirements of the Plain Writing Act of 2010.
Introductory text, or "intro text" is the first 1-2 sentences on a web page. This is indexed by search engines. Additionally, intro text is the first content on the web page, and it helps your readers understand what the page is about.
Energy.gov Summary Text
Websites in the Energy.gov Drupal CMS are required to create summary text for the Energy.gov search engine.
For each page, create a unique, meaningful description of the page's content in the CMS summary text field. It should not be longer than 150 characters. If the first sentence describes the page content and contains no more than 150 characters, use that in the CMS summary text field.
Please also be aware that when writing your summary text, any characters beyond 150 characters will be cutoff, which may result in sentences or words abruptly ending.
The Energy.gov search engine displays 150 characters from the CMS summary text field in search results. Commercial search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo may also display the meta description from the CMS summary text field in search results.
Links and Linking Policy
All links from EERE to any other website must follow DOE's Linking Policy. If you have questions about what sites you are permitted to link to, ask the EERE Web Enterprise Manager.
Link Shortening Services
Shortened URLs are usually used on social media feeds, such as Twitter, where you do not have the ability to embed links, or when a specific vanity URL is preferred over one randomly generated by a social media platform.
Consider if a specific shortened URL is needed before creating one. Many social media sites no longer limit character counts in URLs and provide built-in link shortening or embedding when a URL is included in the post. Additionally, mobile users may choose to directly click links or arrive by other methods, such as QR codes.
Do not use link shorteners when:
- You are creating web content where you can embed the link instead. All links should be embedded when you have the ability to do so.
- You are creating a print product. Shortened links are not recommended for use in print products. Use Energy.gov redirects to link to Energy.gov URLs; use the full URL for links to other websites.
- You can use an Energy.gov redirect instead. Marketing URL redirects, which were previously an option, are no longer being created.
Link shorteners are primarily used for setting up a measurable campaign in Google Analytics. Several popular commercial services, including bitly, which is now integrated with Sprout, and TinyURL allow you to create campaign-tracked URLs that include Universal Tag Manager (UTM) codes. Campaign-tracked, shortened links are recommended for:
- Content that is repeatedly featured over time, such as EERE's monthly themes or content related to Clean Energy Champions
- Significant outreach taking place across multiple platforms, such as various email lists, social media platforms and accounts, or even postcards with QR codes.
These three steps will ensure our data is easily sortable and comparable:
- Obtain a destination URL on energy.gov (or other EERE-related website) where you would like your audience to land. Note: the landing page MUST be housed within EERE's domains for us to access Google Analytics. External sites can't be effectively tracked using this approach.
- Use the Bitly URL Shortener to create a shortened, trackable link. You can access most features with a free account. Be sure to add tags to the three primary campaign parameters, including Source, Medium, and Name, following these best practices:
- Source: The source of the campaign is the entity sponsoring the content, the “who” behind the message. Multiple entities can be used, but consistency is key for tracking (note standard office abbreviations in the social tag recommendations file)! Example: EERE or EERE_VTO or EERE_WPTO
- Medium: The campaign medium is the method for distribution, or “where” people will find it. To run a campaign aimed at finding out which platforms drive the most traffic, simply vary the medium tags and use the corresponding URLs for each platform. Example: social or social_TW and social_FB or email_Jolt or QR_code
- Name: The campaign name should be unique, recognizable, and the same for all URLs that are part of a singular effort. Example: Theme_Jan or Grid_Mobility
- Google will automatically add these UTM parameters, or Universal Tag Manager parameters, into the URL string following a "?" in the generated campaign URL. This long version of the URL will be shortened into a unique Bitly link. Note that you can customize the back half of the shortened link!