Where something isn’t specified here, please follow the?Guardian style guide. Where something isn’t explicitly covered, follow Guardian usage. For Governement terms and departments refer to?The Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide.

This is a live style guide and we are constantly adding to it and revising current sections. If you have suggestions for things to include, please get in touch with the?content editorial team.

Please also refer to the?content editorial?style guide?for tone of voice and target audience guidance?and the?article?visual style guide?to see how?see how text and media components display on a published article page.

Accessibility

We have made every effort to make the Wales.com and VisitWales.com websites easy to use and accessible to everyone. We have aimed to make the sites adhere to the?WCAG Version 2?(AA) guidelines.

Writing for accessibility goes beyond making everything on the page available as text. It also affects the way you organize content. Break text into short paragraphs to?make it easy to scan. Use subheadings and bullet points to guide readers through the text.

Links

Always use meaningful links that help tell the user what the content linked to is - use the name of the business, website, or describe the content in words.?Avoid using urls in their full form, or using words like “Click here”, “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would and link relevant keywords.

Don’t include preceding articles (a, an, the, our) when you link text. For example:

If a link comes at the end of a sentence or before a comma, don’t link the punctuation mark.

Social media links should contain the full name of the account and platform within the link,?so for example:

For usage conventions see the links guidance?in the?Punctuation and content elements section below.

Alt tags

Alt text is a way to label images. It's especially important for people who can’t see the images on our website and rely on screen readers to understand our content. Alt text should describe the image in a brief sentence or two. People who don’t see the image should come away with the same information as if they had. You don’t need to say ‘image of…’ at the start of your description.

Contrast

If you're creating?images with text over the top (e.g. image slideshows for social channels) make sure there’s enough contrast on the text so it’s easy to read.?Use a?contrast checker?to make sure your text is readable.

Abbreviations and acronyms

If an acronym is not well known, always spell it out the first time. If you are using it multiple times, let people know what it is the first time then show it in brackets: for example, WTM (World Travel Market). Then you can use the acronym in your copy.

Try and avoid using e.g. – write out “for example” where possible.

SUP should be written in full as stand up paddleboarding. All lowercase, and no hyphen.

Acronyms like pdf are always lowercase.

Do not use full stops in acronyms: UEFA, NHS.

Cadw is not an acronym, so should always be written as Cadw, not CADW.

Ampersand / &

Never use ampersands in body text, unless it is the part of a company name (P&O, Marks & Spencer),?or in the title of a book or television programme (Gavin & Stacey).

Apostrophes

Wales, in the possessive, is always Wales’, not Wales’s. Like Wales’ beautiful coasts, Wales’ epic mountains.

While it would be preferable to try and rephrase the sentence to switch the possessive around before it, where required, this applies to use of?Visit Wales' when talking about the brand and website too.

St Davids, Pembrokeshire – Note the apostrophe difference between St Davids the location and St Davids Cathedral versus St David’s Day, or St David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff. If you are talking about something that belongs to the saint, remember it’s possessive – so St David’s flagon of ale.

St Donats?the arts centre has no apostrophe, but St Donat’s Castle does have an apostrophe.

Bilingualism

Language is a powerful tool. And we have two.?While we have separate all Welsh language sites for both Visit Wales (Croeso.cymru) and Wales.com (Wales.com/cy), our language is part of our history and future. It is a deeply rooted part of our story and culture that makes us stand out – so be proud of it, and don’t be afraid to use it on our English language sites. It’s a great way of sparking curiosity, so weave in the odd word of Cymraeg into your prose, if it feels natural.

Some articles may be a need to written differently for a Welsh language audience - it wouldn't be appropriate to translate an English article about the Welsh language, or the meanings of Welsh place names into Welsh for a Welsh user.?

Please refer to the separate?Cymru editorial style guide?when creating content in Welsh for Croeso.Cymru

Capitalisation

Upper case:

  • organisations (Welsh Government, Visit Wales);
  • books, films, works of art. The titles of books/films also need to be italicised (I really enjoyed reading?The Mabinogion, I also loved?Under Milk Wood, and?Road Rage?is my favourite song); however we DO NOT italicise the titles of magazines (National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller);
  • jobs: if talking generally, jobs are lower case (chief executive, prime minister). Cap up titles, e.g. Prime Minister?Dylan Thomas (but the prime minister on subsequent mentions);
  • artistic and cultural names of institutions get initial caps (National Museum of Wales, then just museum on subsequent mentions);
  • regions: South Wales, North Wales (but lowercase if talking generally about the north of Wales, or west of Wales);
  • castles and monuments: Raglan Castle, but the castle at Raglan.
  • National Park and Brecon Beacons National Park

Lower case:

  • airport (Cardiff Airport, but the airport at Cardiff);
  • geographical features (a river, a peninsula, unless it forms part of the name of the place – like the Ll?n Peninsula);
  • pdf not PDF;
  • seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter).

Font

To support the sense of place and cultural experience of Wales we have a bespoke typeface collection that takes cues from the Welsh typographical heritage.?The font acts as a unifying cornerstone of the visual brand identity, representing Wales to the world in an authentic and creative way.

We’ve built in a series of glyphs and diagraphs that support sense of place and character as is required.

  • Cymru / Wales Sans is typically used as a headline font
  • Cymru / Wales Serif is used across body copy

Our fonts have been developed in conjunction with accessibility agencies to review and adjust the font where required.

When uploading content in our CMS, the Cymru font can be applied to Welsh words by highlighting the text and clicking the 'Cymru font' button. Cymru font should only be applied to Welsh words in headings, never in body copy.

Inclusivity

It's important to write for and about other people in a way that’s compassionate, inclusive, and respectful.

  • Don’t reference age or disability unless it’s relevant to what you’re writing.
  • Avoid gendered language and use the singular “they.”
  • When writing about a person, use their preferred pronouns; if you don’t know those, just use their name.

For further detail see the?Conscious Style Guide.

Place names

Place names must?ALWAYS?be checked for accuracy using the searchable database of place names on the?Welsh Language Commissioner website?- but it won’t have every name!

Do some additional research, e.g. checking with different tourism sites like Discover Ceredigion, finding the name on the English site, then checking it on the Welsh version of their site.

Wikipedia?will usually have the Welsh place names in brackets after the English name in an article about a particular place, but not always. Visit the Welsh language?Wicipedia?article on the same place to double check what is acceptable in Welsh (but Wikipedia isn’t always accurate!).

If there’s doubt and you’re stuck, contact the?Welsh Place-Name Society?(Facebook page).

The first time a place name is written use the English first and the Welsh name afterwards in brackets, to increase the visibility of the Welsh language: e.g.?Cardigan (Aberteifi). Only include the Welsh in brackets the first time otherwise the page will be too long and it will interrupt the flow of the piece. Where there’s only one name for a place (English or Welsh), just use the one: e.g.?Cwmtydu.

Anglesey?in English is Anglesey, even though the constituency is always called Ynys M?n (in either language).

Gower?is either Gower or the Gower Peninsula. NEVER the Gower. Same for Ll?n – either Ll?n, or the Ll?n Peninsula. If you go to?Gower you are 'on Gower', not 'in Gower', or 'on the Gower'.

New Quay, (two words),?in Ceredigion – not Newquay, which is in Cornwall.

St Davids, Pembrokeshire – Note the apostrophe difference between St Davids the location and St Davids Cathedral versus St David’s Day, or St David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff. If you are talking about something that belongs to the saint, remember it’s possessive – so St David’s flagon of ale.

St Donats?the arts centre has no apostrophe, but St Donat’s Castle does have an apostrophe.

Wales, in the possessive, is always Wales’, not Wales’s. Like Wales’ beautiful coasts, Wales’ epic mountains.

Always use?Llyn Tegid?over ‘Bala Lake’.

Regions of Wales?

The regions of Wales - South Wales, Mid Wales, North Wales and West Wales should always be capitalised and should not be hyphenated.

Regions should not be capitalised when used as compass points, e.g. 'driving north on The Cambrian Way'.

For the purposes of our websites, the four?regions of Wales are split into tourism marketing areas as follows:

North Wales includes -

  • Llandudno and Colwyn Bay
  • North East Wales
  • Snowdonia Mountains and Coast
  • The Isle of Anglesey

Mid Wales includes -

  • Ceredigion/Cardigan Bay
  • Mid Wales and Brecon Beacons
Two maps of Wales, one highlighting the North Wales region the other the Mid Wales region
North Wales region map and Mid Wales region map

West Wales includes -?

  • Carmarthenshire
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Swansea Bay, Mumbles, Gower, Afan and the Vale of Neath

South Wales includes

  • Cardiff (capital of Wales)
  • South Wales Valleys
  • Wye Valley and Vale of Usk
  • Glamorgan Heritage Coast
Two maps of Wales, one highlighting the West Wales region the other the South Wales region
West?Wales region map and South Wales region map

The Wales Way

The Wales Way is a family of three routes, distinct but complementary, that grant access to the best of our nation – The Coastal Way, The Cambrian Way and The North Wales Way.

All should be capitalised when used in copy, including the The.

The Wales Way has its own separate style guide.

Numbers

In narrative documents (not including tables or formatted numerical documents) spell out from one to nine; then it’s numerals from 10 to 999,999, EXCEPT for distances, weights, measures and dates.

Therefore: three years old, four elephants; under-fives; two dumplings, BUT 3 miles, 1km, 8kg, 9sq m.

However, write 8 to 16 years old, not eight to 16.

Ordinal numbers follow the same pattern, so first to ninth, secondly, then 10th etc. (this does not apply to dates).

If the sentence starts with a number, always write it out in full: Seventy-six trombones in the big parade.

Million and billion are rendered as words: four million unemployed people; 8.7 million units; £1.5 billion.

Hundreds of thousands, tens of millions.

Per cent?should always be per cent in body text, never %

Dates

As a general rule, try to avoid the use of dates and times, to keep content as evergreen as possible. Where required follow Guardian style guidance;

Our style on dates is: 10 September 2017 (day month year; no commas). Do not use “th”, “st” in superscript.

AD goes before the date (AD64), BC goes after (300BC); both go after the century: second century AD, fourth century BC, or 11th century AD.

Times

Use of times depends on context.?

1am, 6.30pm, etc.; 10 o’clock last night but 10pm yesterday; half past two, a quarter to three, 10 to 11, etc.; noon, midnight (not 12 noon, 12 midnight or 12am, 12pm).

Put dates in brackets when there might be ambiguity.

Years

Abbreviate decades when referring to those within the past 100 years.

  • the 00s
  • the 90s

When referring to decades more than 100 years ago, be more specific:

  • the 1900s
  • the 1890s

Punctuation and content elements

Apostrophes

Plurals DO NOT TAKE apostrophes: humans, sisters, oranges, horses. Same goes for plurals of acronyms: MCs, DJs, MP3s, CDs.

Possessive: if something belongs to someone, then an apostrophe indicates this (e.g. Gwenno’s book).

If a name or word ends with an s, it would usually take an apostrophe and a second s, but be guided by sound and pronunciation and use the plural apostrophe where it sounds better (e.g. Hedges’ rather than Hedges’s)

Wales, in the possessive, is always Wales’, not Wales’s. Like Wales’ beautiful coasts, Wales’ epic mountains.

Bold and italics

Use bold to highlight the name of a person who is the subject of an article in the intro paragraph.

Do not italicise the article intro paragraph.

Other than the above we don’t use bold in normal text on our websites.

Where they improve clarity and help to make the point, we use italics to emphasise words within a sentence, but very sparingly.?

Bullet points

When using bullet points, you should:

  • end the sentence introducing the list with a colon;
  • always start bullet points with lower case letters;
  • use a semi-colon at the end of each bullet point;
  • place a full stop at the end of the final bullet point.

Headings

Unless including a named thing, e.g. Wales Coast Path, use sentence case for all titles including:

  • Editorial titles
  • H1
  • H2 / H3 (in-page titles)

Frontload your keywords and try to keep headlines short (less than 75 characters if possible).

Okay: Coming soon to Cardiff: UEFA Champions League

Better: UEFA Champions League coming soon to Cardiff

Links

See 'Accessibility' section above for best practice guidance on adding in-line links to body copy.

Use internal links to same site pages where possible, including linking to the VW product database. Where providers do not have an internal product page, link externally to the website of the provider.

For Wales.com content, where the site is much smaller include links to the external 'sister sites' - Visit Wales, TradeandInvest.Wales, Study in Wales, in order to ensure an onward journey for users.

Use the following conventions for in-line links:

  • Product database?- where possible, link to product pages (/product/xxxxxx)
  • Internal?- link between pages by using the node (/node/xxxxxx)
  • External?- link to an external site using the full url (https://xxx)

Quotes

When quoting, use single quotation marks at the start and end. Place full points and commas inside the quotes for a complete quoted sentence; otherwise the point comes outside, e.g. Cerys said: ‘Your style guide needs updating’.?

Use double quotation marks for words that aren’t actually quotations, for example: These are the people who put the “style” in style guide.

In?headlines and standfirsts, captions and display quotes all take single quote marks.

Try to avoid parentheses in direct quotes as much as possible, where necessary, use square brackets.

If you use the 'pull quote' article component to highlight the quote within the article,?use the guidance in the standard article components section of the visual style guide.

Spacing

In body copy, house style is to use?one?space after a full stop, not two.

No full stops in landmarks or titles (Dr Jones, not Dr. Jones – St Dogmaels, not St. Dogmaels).

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