BQ style guide

This guide explains Business Queensland (BQ) website style rules not already covered in the Queensland Government's web writing and style guide, which is your primary resource for style questions.

Where necessary, this guide also clarifies rules listed in the QGov style guide by providing further information relevant to BQ and the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).

If you need to decide on a style when publishing specialist content for a particular audience, make sure you use it consistently within the same page, guide or document for internal consistency. You should also notify the BQ digital content design team, who will document the style decisions that apply to your content.

Anchor links

Our policy is to avoid using anchor links unless they are absolutely essential for readability. 

We use them on some pages of the site where the page is quite long and broken up under subheadings. 

Listing these subheadings (as anchor links) at the top of a long page avoids the reader needing to scroll all the way down to identify whether the page holds the information they want.

Usability experts advise this is the only time that anchor links add value to readability.

Former departments

If we need to keep a historical reference because it was correct at the time, we make it clear to readers who is now responsible so they can contact the correct new department. For example:

  • Please note that this innovation grant was provided by the former Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI). For more information about innovation support, contact the Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games.

If the reference is in transcript text, add an asterisk (e.g. DSITI*). Then put a note at the bottom of the page. For example:

  •  *Innovation support Please note that this innovation grant was provided by the former Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI). Contact the Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games for more information about innovation support.

Linking to ABLIS

Link to individual summary sheet (one licence, one regulation etc.)

Use this format for linking to a single licence or regulation:

Links can also be contextual (in a paragraph) and not describe ABLIS. For example:

Link to the ABLIS homepage

This can be added at the end of a paragraph, or in the Also consider... section. The wording should be contextualised around the type of licensing information.

For example: Use the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find liquor licensing information relevant to your business.

Linking to documents

BQ policy is to link to an HTML landing page (which then links to the document) if possible (e.g. the Publications Portal uses landing pages, so link there rather than straight to the document).

Exceptions to the rule above

We only link directly to the PDF, Word or Excel document (not its landing page) if:

  •  the HTML landing page links to many PDFs which readers will have to trawl through to find the right one (this is a confusing onward journey for readers)
  • the document is in a foreign language – this avoids the user being exposed to an English language landing page.

Link to the front page of the PDF, not to a specific section. The link words should match the title of the PDF, so readers can find it easily on the landing page. Remember to include the document type and file size, in brackets, after the title e.g. Biosecurity Act 2014 (PDF, 672KB) and include this in the hyperlink.

Notes and footnotes

If you have a note—for example, at the end of a table—it should be displayed as a sentence (not a phrase) and begin with a capital letter. For example:

Note: This is an example note.

If it is important for your audience to read a note to make sense of the preceding content, you may use an asterisk (preferred) or another footnote symbol. For example:

Local government areas where DES is the administering authority*

  • Balonne Shire Council
  • Barcaldine Regional Council
  • Barcoo Shire Council

* Most local governments in Queensland have responsibility for ERAs, except for the local councils listed above.

If you have multiple references (e.g. in a table), be sure to use a different footnote symbol for each one (e.g. *, **, ***).

Money

When writing a range of large amounts of money, use the full version of each figure. For example:

‘between $2 billion and $4 billion’, but not ‘between $2 and $4 billion’ or ‘from $2-4 billion’

Plant, animal and disease names

Common names of plants, animals and diseases are lower case, except for proper nouns (e.g. Spanish mackerel).

Common names are lower case even if there is a different standard endorsed for particular taxonomy groups.

If the genus or species name is used as a common name, it is lower case (e.g. Tilapia mariae are commonly called tilapia).

Scientific names

Scientific names are capitalised and italicised as follows:

Division (plants)

Phylum (zoology)

Capitalised, not italicised Arthropoda
Class Capitalised, not italicised Insecta
Order Capitalised, not italicised Blattodea
Family Capitalised, not italicised Blattidae
Genus Capitalised and italicised Blatta
Species No capitals, italicised

Blatta orientalis

Blatta spp.

The abbreviations spp. and sp. (to denote unidentified species of a particular genus) are not italicised (e.g. Cinnamomum sp.).

Spelling

Check the Macquarie Dictionary

We also regard the Australian Government Style manual: for authors, editors and printers as a source of truth for spelling and style questions not covered by the resources above.

Web addresses—URLs

  • BQ refers to web addresses as ‘URLs’.
  • Only ever use linked text on BQ (e.g. running a business), do not use a linked URL (e.g. https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business).

Printing pages—links

When clients print out a BQ page, the URL is automatically added to the text on the page during the printing process.

For example, the linked text ‘running a business’, when printed out, will appear as 'running a business [https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business]'.