City Website Writing Guide
This style guide is offered as a resource to help new and existing website contributors write effectively and consistently across a wide range of various departmental websites.
With a few noted exceptions, the City website is written in AP Style.
Writing for the web is not the same as writing for print. A few key characteristics that distinguish writing for the web include:
- Accessibility - information posted to the City of Albuquerque's website is read across a wide variety of formats and devices, including those made for individuals with vision impairments who read content using screen readers. In addition, the majority of content today is accessed on mobile devices. It is vital that all City web pages are accessible to all citizens.
- Online Behavior - the internet has been widely available since the mid 1990s. In that time, website users have developed expectations for how sites are built and formatted. These style conventions ensure that information is presented in a manner that aligns with user expectations.
- Professional Image - everyone has an interest in presenting the City as a cohesive and professional organization. Following consistent writing style and formatting conventions ensures that we present our best selves to our community.
For specific guidance on formatting conventions for the website, view the City Website Formatting Guide.
AP Style Quick Reference Guide
The City of Albuquerque omits the causeway (e.g. "Boulevard," "Street"). We deviate from typical AP style in this way.
- “309 San Mateo NE”
Use cardinal numbers.
- “The 28-year-old man has a son who is 2 years old.”
Avoid excess capitalization. Capitalize pronouns.
Contrary to the dictation of AP style, we do use the Oxford comma at the City.
- “We brought juice, carrots, and sandwiches."
Quotation marks around book titles, movie titles, etc. Do not use italics to reference titles on the website.
Spell out March, April, May, June, and July; abbreviate all other months. Dates take the form “Sept. 8, 2010.” Do not use "nd," "rd," or "st" at the end of the day. Always spell out the day of the week.
Use the entire year or an apostrophe before an abbreviated decade.
- “1980s,” “We grew up in the '80s”
Spell email without a hyphen (not e-mail).
Hyphenate phrases when they modify a noun like an adjective would. A good rule of thumb is if the phrase comes after the noun, it isn’t hyphenated. Also, -ly acts the same way as a hyphen to connect words.
- “driving on a one-way street”
- “the street runs one way”
- “the badly needed water”
Never include both the $ sign and the word “dollar” (as in “$1 dollar”). It is redundant. Cardinal numbers are used in all cases up to $999,999. If the dollar amount is whole, do not include the cents amount (as in "$1.00").
- "$1 or $1.99"
- "$1 million"
- "99 cents"
Spell out months when in sentence format.
- “The party was in December.”
- “He moved to Santa Fe in October 2008 and to Albuquerque in April 2010.”
Use cardinal numbers for 1-9. Spell out numbers 10 and up. (exceptions: age, proper nouns, percentages, decimals, dimensions, weight, or temperature)
Do not capitalize.
Use the American English "theater" (not theatre), unless that is the name of the theater itself.
"1 p.m.," "1:30 p.m." 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. are referred to as "midnight" and "noon."
Capitalize titles when they’re used as “Mr. or Mrs.” would be used.
- “Barack Obama is the president...”
- “Please stand for President Barack Obama.”
Spell website as a single word (not web site).