WRITING FOR THE WEB – A FEW SHORT TIPS
When writing for the web, it is important to use straight forward content to make it as easy as possible for users to find what they are looking for. Below are some short and simple tips for writing for the web.
1. BE DIRECT AND CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING
Try to focus on what you are providing the customer. What do they want to achieve by coming to your site, and what will you provide them? Clearly show your products or services and make it easy for users to take an action when they have found what they are looking for.
Summarise. Make sure the first few lines of each page clearly summarise what the page is about.
Get to the point. Most users have a very short attention span when viewing content.
2. USE AN ACTIVE VOICE
Using an active rather than a passive voice will assist users to easily scan your content and understand what you want them to do. For example, instead of using a passive voice (“the man was bitten by the dog”), instead use an active voice (“the dog bit the man”). Be active and direct. For example, the active phrase “join me for this online course“ is more impactful than the passive phrase “why not join me for an online course?”.
3. TRY TO KEEP SENTENCES SHORT
Keep your content short and sharp. This will ensure all users can understand your content, and it makes your content easy to read on all devices.
4. USE SIMPLER WORDS
Ensure that your content is easy to read. If you can find a simpler word, use it (for example, ‘confused’ is a simpler word for ‘discombobulated’). This will ensure you have a wide audience reach and longer user engagement.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE LISTS, HEADINGS, AND QUOTES
Headings and bullet lists instantly make your content easier to read, and, more importantly, easier to scan. Most users will not read the whole page, so make it quick and easy for them to find what they are looking for.
6. MAKE IT EASY FOR THE USER TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO
Each page will need a call to action to get in contact/book a service/sign up/purchase a product/course. Be clear about what you want users to do on the page.
7. USE IMAGES, VIDEO, AND WHITE SPACE
Supplementing your content with images and videos breaks up your content into manageable and more engaging blocks of information. Images and videos will also reinforce your written content.
Visually space your content by utilising white space and structured paragraphs.