Content Checklists


About the Content Checklists

To create content that meets the goals of the MDC site, consider these questions and refer to the guidelines in the accordions below.



  • Who needs the information on this page? Picture the person in your mind.


  • What information is most meaningful and helpful for this user? Try to describe the conversation.
  • What is the key message for the user? Identify the top message for the page.


  • Why is this page needed? Define the business purpose or goal.


  • When does this info take place or need to be completed? Note deadlines or timeframes.


  • Where should the user go next after reading the page? List or link to specific call-to-action(s)

MDC sites aim to inspire and persuade all Missourians to discover nature and participate in conserving it. We keep these key values in mind:


  • Missourians care about conserving fish, forests, and wildlife. We believe that the public supports what we do.
  • Conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life. We emphasize the economic and social value of who we are, what we do, and why it matters.
  • We work with you and for you to sustain healthy fish, forests, and wildlife. We value partnerships and service.

Connection with Nature

  • We help people discover nature. We think it's important for people to connect to the outdoors.

Check reading level

Consider word choices

  • Use “nature” or a specific species or habitat instead of “fish, forests, and wildlife."
  • See A-Z Style Guidelines for more examples.

Use a consistent voice

  • Favor active voice where the person or agency that’s acting is the subject of the sentence. (EG: MDC proposed new regulations.)
  • Avoid passive voice which obscures who is responsible for what. (EG: New regulations were proposed.)
  • Employ a helpful and friendly tone.
  • Promote Missouri's natural resources — see Does page address key messages? for details.
  • Use respectful language — if you feel a word or phrase might offend someone, don’t use it.

Provide instructions

  • Provide sequential instructions for tasks, and links to accomplish the task. 
  • Use clear language, especially on links, to help users understand the functions involved.

Be action oriented

  • Include a call-to-action or directive.

Match title with user need

  • Title for page should include keyword for user need.

Note user need in standfirst

  • Include a standfirst intro on landing pages to define user need for that section.
  • Use standfirst content for page meta description.

Break up text with headings

  • Use H2-H6 headers to break up text and establish content hierarchy.
  • Use concise titles for headings.
  • Coordinate headings with SEO goals for page.
  • Capitalize the first word in a heading, but not the others, unless a proper noun.
  • Confine sections between headings to 300 words or less.

Keep sentences short

  • Confine sentences to 20 words or less.

Organize with lists

  • Use bulleted lists to organize multiple items and make them easier to scan.
  • Use numbered lists for sequential instructions.
  • Try to limit lists to two per page.

Use Oxford comma

  • Use Oxford (or serial) comma before the conjunction and final item in a list of three or more items.
  • EG: We hunted with our parents, Mother Theresa, and Winston Churchill.

Confine page width

  • Confine the width of text on the page to make it easier to read (recommended no more than 700 pixels wide).