Writing For The Web
Writing for the web made easy
It’s called the information superhighway for good reason - it’s fast People expect to be able to absorb the contents of most pages in the same way - at light speed.
Boylen Bridgehead's writers (qualified journalists with decades of experience) offer the following tips to make your text truly memorable:
- What is the purpose of the page? Start with the end in mind - and write it down.
- Write the key information first, then the next most important… and so on. In this way, if a person stops reading after the first sentence, they will have read your most important point. It’s a journalism style (the inverted pyramid).
- Studies show people don’t read, they “scan”. Like a newspaper reader, people look at the pictures and headlines first, to decide whether to read on - or leave. So work hard on snappy headlines, and use eye-catching photos. Secondary headings are just as important.
- One idea per sentence. Ideally, one sentence per paragraph. Make it easy for the eye; dense blocks of text make reading more difficult.
- People love lists. They are easy to read. Use them to break up text. Go to msn.com.au for inspiration.
- Bring text to life by highlighting key words and phrases
- Avoid jargon. Use short words rather than long words. “We conducted interpersonal facilitation of meaningful ideas” simply means “we talked” or “we discussed the issue”. Keep it simple.
- Attribute key claims. This is especially true for technical writing. The internet abounds with boasts but web surfers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in filtering out marketing hyperbole.
- Write your key information in the hot zone of the page. This is in just above the centre of the page.
- Keep punctuation simple. If you have to use semi colons and the like, your sentences need pruning.
- Match your writing tone to that of the site. Websites for six year olds or sixty year olds? Choose your language. If you are selling whoopee cushions, have some fun with the text. If you are selling safety equipment, keep it formal.
- Informal writing is easy to write badly - and hard to write well.
- Active sentences, not passive.
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