UNB Marketing Blog
Tips and tricks from your university marketers

Common web mistakes you don’t want to make

Author: Jean-Étienne Sheehy

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

Category: Web and Social Media

Do you want your content to appear on Google? Does your website follow UNB’s web standards?

We’re here to help you fix common web mistakes, improve your user experience and optimize your content so that it’s not only tailored to your audience’s needs, but will also have a bigger impact on Google.

Common mistake #1: You’re confusing traffic for audience

Traffic is made up of people who end up on your website, namely anyone who enters your URL or finds your unit on Google. Your audience is the segment that your website targets.

For example, you may have a page with resources for undergraduate students such as information for first-year students, programs for current students or office hours. Faculty, parents and prospective students may visit your page (traffic), but your audience remains current students.

This distinction makes it easier to tailor your message. It allows you to use the right keywords for improved results on Google and makes sure your website answers the right questions for your audience.

Related: Marketing Plans 101

Common mistake #2: You’re not using headers

Headers help your audience scan text and make sense of the information they’re given.

We may picture our audience sitting in a quiet room on a desktop computer reading every word of our webpage. And while this may be true, our audience is also browsing our website on smartphones in public transit or on a laptop in a coffee shop.

Your audience is scanning your website looking for specific bits of information: what is the deadline for scholarships? Which professor can I contact for this class? Where can I find this research project?

Headers help your audience find an answer to a question while also helping Google to rank your website more effectively.

Common mistake #3: You’re not giving your audience a call-to-action

Your audience visits your website to accomplish specific tasks. To find an answer to a question, apply to a program, print a form, etc. After finding your website with the right messaging and finding the right answer through well-written headers, a call-to-action (CTA) helps your audience to accomplish the next step of their visit.

Is your page designed for prospective students? Help them apply to UNB! Do you want to promote a faculty-wide event? Make sure your audience can RSVP! Is your website showcasing departmental news? Add links to help your audience learn more about what’s happening!

Common mistake #4: You’re not following Canadian Press Style

UNB’s website follows the Canadian Press (CP) style guide to ensure consistency across all UNB websites and make content easier to read. Many universities and colleges in Canada also follow this style guide.

Its standards include punctuation (avoid the Oxford comma), capitalization (department is lowercased, but Department of English is uppercased) abbreviations (December is Dec. but May is May), and spelling (with preference to spellings from the Oxford English Dictionary).

Print out a web writing checklist with CP style or contact the Marketing Office if you have any questions.

Related: Curating the user experience on UNB.ca

Common mistake #5: Your content isn’t breathing

Reading big blocks of text just isn’t appealing. Which of these paragraphs do you find easier to get through?

Use headers to describe, let your content breathe and break down long sentences into lists, which include different elements such as words, dates, links, adjectives and more. Keep the sentences shorts, usually no more than twenty words per sentence and keep your paragraphs short only one sentence or two per paragraph. Let your content breathe by putting the most important information first.


Use descriptive headers, let your content breathe and break down long sentences into lists. This includes different elements such as:

  • Words
  • Dates
  • Links
  • Adjectives
  • And more

Keep sentences short – under twenty words – as well as your paragraphs, using only a sentence or two per paragraph. And be sure to put the most important information first.

Jean-Étienne Sheehy, Web Copy Writer

Learn more

Want to learn more about writing for the web? Check out our Marketing page for helpful tips or contact us at digital@unb.ca. We’re here to help!