One of the toughest parts of preparing your new website for launch is developing your content. Whether you’re starting from scratch or editing existing content from an older site, it’s a huge task.
Since writing for the web is a bit different than writing for print publications, here are four tips for effective web writing. The average visitor spends fewer than 20 seconds on a new web page. These tips will help you make an impact despite this short attention span.
Keep It Short
- Write in short, easy-to-read blocks of text
- Use plain language–jargon can be confusing
- Online writing should be much shorter than other writing
Make it Easy to Scan
- Use bold face text, lists, and subheadings to guide readers to the most important text
- Bulleted lists break up content
- Write a short sentence
- Support it with bullet points
Writing for the web can be frustrating for grammar sticklers, but the same rules of punctuation don’t apply. Skip periods or semicolons at the end of bullet points–they stop the eye from scanning.
Use Effective Hyperlinks
- Provide lots of links to explore
- Use an accurate description of linked content
- Instead of: “To see our most recent annual report, click here.”
- Try: “For more information, see our most recent Annual Report.”
Quick tip: Web readers expect underlined text to be a link. Use headings, subheadings, or bold face to set text apart.
Put Your Most Important Message Up Top
- Where your reader will see it!
- Highlight key ideas in bold
- Save longer messages for deeper levels of the page
These are just a few ideas, but they’re a great place to get started with effective web writing. Try them when creating copy for your website, and as always, if you have any questions, let us know! We’re happy to help.