Tips on Writing for the Web
Earlier this year I put together this summary of tips on writing for the web, at a client's request. I've found myself going back to it several times since then. Hope it helps!
Read this article by Jakob Nielsen (very well-known expert on web usability). It’s old, but still very relevant: “How Users Read on the Web.” In addition, here's my bullet-point summary of how to write for the web, combined from the Nielsen article as well as several others.
- Write it, then cut it in half, then cut it in half again.
- Good article from Yahoo! Style Guide on getting to the point: http://styleguide.yahoo.com/writing/write-web/get-point.
Make it scan-able.
- Use short sentences.
- Use meaningful subheadings, not “clever” ones.
- Avoid long paragraphs or large blocks of text.
- Use descriptive titles.
Use the inverted pyramid structure.
- Start with the conclusion.
- Present remaining points in order of decreasing importance.
Make it credible.
- Link (within the body of a page) to supporting and/or supplemental information.
- Outbound links (to other sites) make you more credible, both to human readers and to search engines.
- Check facts, spelling and links. http://www.qld.gov.au/web/cue/module8/p05-establish-maintain-credibility...
- Avoid “marketing-ese,” or traditional marketing language. It’s a turn-off for web readers. http://www.sun.com/980713/webwriting/wftw1.html