writing for the web best practices
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Why Writing for the Web Differs
There are several reasons why writing for the web differs from traditional print.
First, we don’t really read on the web. Most people will scan. And because we scan, we don’t spend a lot of time on a page.
In fact, you probably have about 11 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stay on your site.
Because of these reasons we must create content in way that makes it easier for a visitor to use a website and convince them to stay.
Writing techniques for online content don’t just apply to your static web content. These tips can be used for your blog, social media posts and other online articles.
Benefits to Good Web Writing Practices
Now that we know why writing online content is different let’s look at some of the benefits to these tips and techniques.
It Can Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Rankings
Search engines will look at Titles and Sub-titles to understand what your content is about. Well written content makes it easier for the search engine spiders to crawl and catalog thereby improving the chances your website will appear in search results.
Well structured content can make it easier for visitors who have visual impairments or rely on screen readers to use your site. And there are other benefits to improved accessibility. Accessible websites make it easier for all visitors not just the impaired.
For more information on website accessibility check out this article: https://www.newedgewebservices.com/blog/10-tips-to-help-make-your-website-is-accessible/
Enhances Your Credibility
Good writing and graphics infers you have a strong grasp of the subject matter. This can lead to increased visitor trust.
Visitors are more likely to become customers of people they trust.
Here are 3 Ways to Improve Your Website Content
Use the Inverted Pyramid Technique
Identify your main points. When developing content anticipate questions your may have and be sure you answer them.
What is the most important fact your readers should know if they only read a one sentence of paragraph. Basically this is the summary and the information that follows will support the summary.
Rank the rest of your information and prioritize it based on what is going to be most important to your audience.
Because you don’t know when a reader will stop reading by following this flow it will help make sure the key parts of your message is delivered.
Write well and keep it concise. Again, people scan so keeping it short and sweet is more likely to be successful.
Front-load each section with the most important information. Again, you never know when they will stop reading and you want to be sure the key message is delivered.
Finally, consider adding a summary or bullet list of important highlights. This will make it easier for the visitor to scan the information and find what they are looking for.
Chunk Information for Readability
Breaking up information into meaningful chunks makes it easier for readers to understand and remember the information. So how do we do this?
First, be sure to use headings and subheadings that contrast with the rest of the text. Make them bolder and larger. This will provide a clear visual clue of the different sections,
Highlight keywords by using bold, italics etc. By highlighting keywords you will draw the readers eye to the most important parts of the content.
However, avoid underlines – unless linking to other content. Underlined content is usually a link to other information. If can confuse a user if they click on underlined content and it doesn’t lead anywhere. They may assume it’s a broken link and that can diminish the site’s credibility in their eyes.
Consider presenting information in bulleted or numbered lists. This can make it easier to digest and comprehend.
Add a short summary paragraph for longer text sections.
Use Plain Language
Writing in plain language communicates information easily and efficiently. Therefore readers can quickly understand your message without having to decipher complicated sentences and vague jargon.
Even experts appreciate plain language.
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to write in plain language. The first one is to know your audience. Understand how they communicate and try to write in a similar fashion.
Write for a single persona. The more you know about your user the better you can target your writing for them. This will help your writing find a voice. Remember when you write for everyone, you write for no one.
Choose words familiar to your audience. Try to avoid using overly technical language when a more common term will work.
Keep to one idea per paragraph. And use short sentences and paragraphs. It’s okay to have 1-2 sentence paragraphs. Remember we want to keep our writing concise.
Aim for the right reading level. You should tailor your writing for your audience and topic. Here are some guidelines to help.
General Audiences – 6th – 8th grade reading level.
Writing for experts and scholars – 10th – 12th grade level is good
With the ever increasing consumption of content online it is critical to write in a way that supports how we use the web. Using these tips will provide lasting benefits to your website and your business.