Writing for Services

Follow these guidelines to make services easy to understand and access online.

Who Should Use This Guide?

Anyone who writes web content for services provided by the government of British Columbia.

Why Writing for Services?

A structured layout makes services more likely to appear in commercial search results as a featured snippet, a summary that shows the steps someone can take access, renew, or register for a service.

Writing for Services Guidelines

Follow the guidelines below to write clear, consistent service content.

1. Separate services from supporting content

Place concise, step-by-step service details at the top of the page. Place supporting content below, or on separate pages. Supporting content needs to add clarity to the service, and should never be promotional or persuasive.  

2. Write short service headings and titles

Introduce the service in five words or less in headings, three words or less in navigation.

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3. Describe the service in one or two sentences

Place a short description of the service outcome at the top of the page.

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4. Introduce instructions with an action phrase

A short, clear action phrase helps people and search engines.

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5. List step-by-step instructions

Place a numbered list below the action phrase. 

  1. Gather all necessary documents
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Attach a recent photo
  4. Submit your renewal

6. Include a relevant graphic, if applicable

A relevant graphic can help readers understand the service, and can improve search results. Insert a graphic in the main content well, rather than in the right column. 

7. Follow B.C. government web content standards

Follow B.C. government standards for style, plain language, graphics, and accessibility.

Sample Service

See a sample of a formatted service page.