Writing for the Web

  • Keep in mind: Web users skim for information.
  • Decide the purpose of the page/site: Is this serving as an index to other pages? A flyer/notice? A resource page? A newsletter? A news page? Advocacy/persuasion? A blog?
  • The writing begins after you've decided on the larger strategy of organizing the site, because your structure and linking strategies will dictate how much and where you are writing.
  • Keep it short: Users want concise, easy to find information.
  • Highlight what's important: Make effective use of titles, subtitles, and bolding to draw attention to sections of your page that users would find most useful.
  • Use bullet points when you can: Breaking information into concise statements draws the eye.
  • Make hyperlinks meaningful: "Click here" doesn't tell users anything helpful, but a link reading &Human Resources" is descriptive and informs users where a link will take them.
  • Use the active voice: A subject (I, you, he, they, Human Resources) performs a verb on an action (developing, writing, studying). The active voice makes for punchier, more engaging reading
  • Keep it "above the fold": Make the most of the top portion of the page by putting your most important information where your users' eyes will land first.
  • Get rid of needless words in content. It reduces the "noise" level, makes useful content more prominent and pages shorter so people can see more of each page without scrolling. For Web writers, virtual space may seem endless but your audience's patience is not.