Writing guideFront matter

Front matter

Grafana technical documentation includes front matter to help organize the content, develop the TOC (as published in the LH sidebar of the website), and help users identify useful pages when searching or viewing the content in search engines or in social media, such as Twitter.

We use YAML for all front matter.

Here’s a correctly built example:

title: About Grafana Mimir architecture
menuTitle: Architecture
description: Learn more about Grafana Mimir’s microservices-based architecture.
  - /docs/mimir/latest/old-architecture/
weight: 100
  - Mimir
  - microservices
  - architecture

The following table describes each front matter element in detail.


The [title] displays as the H1 on the page.

The [title] becomes the document title element. Often browsers display this in the tab for the page.
Does not need to precisely match the menuTitle. The title should be optimized for search engines.

May be surrounded by double quote marks ("). Do not use smart quotes.
[menuTitle]The [menuTitle] is useful for having a distinct sidebar entry perhaps in the case that the title is too long to display nicely in the sidebar as the title on the website in the left-hand sidebar.

Note: Not all repos support [menuTitle].
Does not need to precisely match the title. The menuTitle does not need to be optimized for search engines.

May be surrounded by double quote marks ("). Do not use smart quotes.
[description]The [description] text displays as a clue to users about what the page should include on social (Twitter and the like), though not as much by a search engine.The number of characters vary by media, but use them wisely.

Provide enough information to guide users to the content by describing what content is provided using the link. Often, this doesn’t need to be original prose - you can often scan the first few paragraphs to pluck the appropriate terms/phrases into the description.

It won't cause harm if it's too long, it will simply truncate in the displayed media.

May be surrounded by double quote marks ("). Do not use smart quotes.
[aliases]Provides an HTML redirect from the pages in the list to the current page.Described in detail in Hugo aliases.
[weight]The [weight] determines the placement of the topic within the left-hand sidebar of our website, with smaller numbers placing the topic higher in the guide.

Pages with the same weight have lexicographic ordering.
Use increments of `100` for all other content files, because doing so eliminates much of the need to re-order existing topics when new topics are added.

Weights are per web directory..
[keywords]Keywords are used by the website to link to related pages in the “related content” sections. https://github.com/grafana/website/blob/master/config/_default/config.yaml#L85

They do not appear in the resulting HTML source for the page and have no effect on SEO.
Ideally, use single terms as opposed to phrases.

[Title] v [MenuTitle] example

title: About Grafana Mimir architecture
menuTitle: Architecture

Description example

On Twitter:

Twitter description

For example:

  • Add a panel using these steps.
  • Understand the configuration options provided by…
  • Learn more about hash rings and their usage

Hugo aliases

Technical writers use Hugo aliases to create redirects to the current page from other URLs.

If you specify aliases in the frontmatter, Hugo creates a directory that matches the alias entry that contains a single .html file.


The following example file intended-url.md contains the alias /original-url within its YAML frontmatter:

  - /original-url/

Assuming a baseURL of grafana.com, the auto-generated alias .html file found at https://grafana.com/original-url/ contains something like the following:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    const destination = 'https://grafana.com/intended-url/';
    document.head.innerHTML = `<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=${destination}${window.location.search}"/>`;
    <link rel="canonical" href="https://grafana.com/intended-url/"/>
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex">
    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>
      <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url={{ safeURL .Permalink }}"/>

The http-equiv="refresh" meta tag attribute, injected by JavaScript, performs an HTML redirect. For more detail about HTML redirects, refer to HTML redirections.

Note: The redirect relies on first party JavaScript support which is common but not necessarily universal.


To allow content to be easily moved, include an aliases entry that refers to the initial published website directory. Hugo doesn’t create a redirect .html file when the directory is already populated with content.

Note: The published directory is dependent on which content subdirectory documentation is synced to in the website repository. For example, documentation synced to a the content/docs directory requires the /docs prefix.