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Use Common Content, Terminology, and Placement

What It Is

Using common content, terminology, and placement is a best practice for managing your agency’s website. If all government websites presented similar content in standard ways, it would help the public find information and services across government websites.

Why It's Important

  • Citizens expect to find certain basic information on every federal public website, including something about your organization, some way to contact your organization, and quick answers to common questions.
  • Having consistent content and terminology across government websites--- such as having "About Us" pages – helps the public find what they need. They’ll know what labels to look for, and will be confident they’ll get the same basic content when they get there.
  • Usability studies have shown that people who go to multiple websites can find information more quickly and easily if similar content is put in the same location and is called the same thing on each website.
  • Recent laws and regulations have placed a number of requirements on all federal public websites, including privacy policies, links to FOIA pages, accessibility policies, "NO FEAR" data, and more. Using common terminology and placement of this information will help citizens find it on each federal public website.

Specific Policy, Legal or Other Requirements for Doing This

While many of the common elements are best practices, some are required by law or policy. See the list of required content and links.

How to Implement

Below is a list of common content for government websites, recommended by the Federal Web Managers Council:

  1. Contact Information ("Contact us" page)
  2. Organizational Information ("About us" page)
  3. Site Map or A–Z Index
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  5. Online Services
  6. Forms and Publications
  7. Jobs and Employment Information
  8. Information about Regulations
  9. Information about Grants and Contracts
  10. Site Policies and Notices


Many federal public websites follow this best practice. This practice is part of the guidelines and best practices published by the Interagency Committee on Government Information to aid agencies' implementation of OMB Policies for Public Websites.


Page Updated or Reviewed: December 14, 2005



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