Ten tips for web writing
On the web every word matters.
Getting your web writing right is therefore crucial if your website is going to work.
It’s all about writing what’s known as ‘sticky content’…. content that grabs the attention and makes web users want to read what you’ve got to say.
Below are just a few key tips to help you do that:
1. Get your style and tone right. The style is the type of writing you use. This always needs to remain the same. If it jumps around from over-formal through to super-friendly, readers will get confused. The tone sets the mood or attitude of the writing. Upbeat, confident and direct is usually best.
2. Clear headlines. On the web, readers rarely read content before they have scanned the whole page. Good headlines flag up content and why it should be read. If you get your headlines right, readers will be drawn in.
3. Short sentences. Readers on the web always seem to be in a hurry. Yet it takes them 25% longer to read, compared to printed material. Make it easier for readers by chopping up long sentences. If it’s longer that 15 words, it’s probably to too long.
4. Simple sentences. Make sure that each sentence does not contain too many points or have too many clauses. Again, it makes it all too confusing for readers.
5. Use that space bar! No one wants to read a big block of text. Make sure that you split your text up into lots of paragraphs. This makes it easier to read. News sites like the BBC use what’s known as ‘chunking’, making each sentence a separate paragraph. It works them in; it should work for you.
6. Be upfront with key information. Your website is not the place to discuss, deliberate, and balance arguments before your deliver key points and messages. Engage readers by starting with the most important points. Only then elaborate and expand upon those points.
7. Relevance – Make sure that your content always remains relevant for your readers. If it’s not, they will click away, never to return.
8. Credibility – Show clear evidence why readers should believe you. You always need to be direct and upfront but do it in a way that always reassures and convinces.
9. Keep to the point – Be very clear what you want to convey on each page of your website. Identify what that message is, and then write the content that conveys that message. Don’t deviate from that message or dilute it.
10. Keep it short. Don’t assume readers want a lot of detail. If they do, they will find it themselves.