9 Tips for Writing for the Web

Web writing needs to be concise and credible. Make sure you are not just reprinting your conventional marketing materials to attract new customers online. Below are some tactics that will help attract and retain a solid web following!

Web Writing Tips - Title

Put Your Most Important Information First

In conventional writing this isn’t important, but when writing for the web, it’s critical. This technique is called the inverted pyramid method or “front-loading”. Readers scan online pages, they don’t read them. Grab your reader with that important information right away in the first paragraph, so you don’t lose them. Put your conclusion first.

Chunk Information

Paragraphs should contain only one important idea per paragraph. Sentences should be short, concise, and to-the-point. In general, your word count should be about half of that used for print materials.

Use Lists When Possible and Highlight Key Words

Online readers like lists. Many readers will be looking at your content on mobile phones. Lists are much easier to scan than paragraphs and can be an effective way to emphasize the most important information. Whenever possible, use bullet points and subheadings. Highlighting key words help readers find key information quickly. Make your information easy to locate and digest.

9 Tips for Writing for the Web

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Keep It Error-free.

Don’t assume that just because your marketing material is online rather than in print, good editing can take a backseat. Typos and grammatical errors are sure-fire ways to lose credibility. Readers will leave a page if they see sloppy errors. Edit, edit, edit! Make sure friends and colleagues read your text before you post it live. Your content and ideas are important, but the way you present them reflects on you and your business.

Web Writing 9 Tips

Use Images

Images and graphics break up the content and give your readers a rest. As long as the images aren’t distracting, images can enhance the webpage, making it more visually appealing. Make sure the images are relevant to the content you are promoting.

Present Information to Serve Your Reader’s Needs, Not Yours.

While it may be tempting to ramble on about a subject that is meaningful to you, this will likely not attract many readers to your site, or keep them on your page. Also remember that you are presenting your site to a global audience. Unless you are writing for a very specific reader on a particular subject, write for people whose first language may not be English.

Eliminate jargon and ditch the fancy wording. Use straightforward clear language that a twelve-year-old child would understand. Be mindful that jokes or culturally-specific phrases may not translate well.

Show Don’t Tell

Similar to fiction writing, an effective way to engage your reader is to make it simple to get more information by embedding a link into your sentence. Instead of writing “click here for more information”, highlight the link that will give the reader more insight or to go into greater depth on a particular topic.

Ditch the Hyperbole

Readers want facts. They may be scanning your site in a noisy, crowded room on their mobile phones. They may be busy and impatient. While searching for credible information, claims touting that a product or service is “the best ever” may turn readers off. Keep your information accurate and factual so readers will trust your site and what you have to say.

Don’t Be Stale

Publish new content regularly and keep up with current events so your latest posts are relevant to what’s happening in the world. Current, relevant content brings credibility to you, your service, and your site.

Erica Osburn
May 16, 2017
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