Keep it short and simple One of the main reasons people use the web is to save time. It’s quicker and easier to look up film times for your local multiplex on their website than to walk there and check the poster. So, the last thing you want to do is force your visitors to wade through long wordy pages as this will slow them down. Chances are, they’ll give up and go to another site if you do.
Keep it short and simple Keep your writing as short and to the point as possible. Think about things from your visitors’ point of view. Why have they come to this page and what do they want to know? Let them have the information in the quickest way possible.
Writing for the Web Grab people with headlines
Grab People with Headlines When you read a newspaper, you skim through it look at headlines and photos to help you decide which stories you want to read in more depth and which to avoid. It’s the same online.
Grab People with Headlines People scan websites, using headlines to help them decide whether it’s worth reading the whole page or not. If you want to give your copy a chance to be read, you need to make sure you use punchy, descriptive headlines.
Grab People with Headlines Your headlines should sum up the contents of the page, while making people want to read more. Try to keep them as short and punch as possible by cutting out any unnecessary words.
Writing for the Web Why search engines matter
Why search engines matter Unless you’re a household name, like eBay or Amazon, most people will find your site through a search engine, so it’s important to get a good search engine ranking. How well your site performs in search engines depends on several factors, including the way the site’s HTML is coded and the number of other websites linking to it. However, one of the key things they look at is the text used on the site.
Why search engines matter How does your writing affect search ranking?
Why search engines matter When you type a word or phrase into a search engine it tries to show you a list of relevant web pages. The important word is relevant. If you search for “Melbourne dentist” then ideally you’d like a page full of websites for dentists in New York.
Why search engines matter One way to tell if a web page is relevant is to look at the writing it contains. If a page contains the phrase “Melbourne dentist”, then it’s more likely to be relevant than one that doesn’t. This is how the earliest search engines worked and is still important today.
Writing for the Web Web writing tips
Web writing tips Get to the point People don’t want to waste time online reading waffle. Say what you need to, clearly and quickly - then stop.
Web writing tips Avoid jargon The point of having a website is to reach as many people as possible - not to confuse them. If you can’t avoid jargon and acronyms, provide an explanation of their meaning.
Web writing tips Use headings to help people skim read Headings help people decide whether to read a page or to find specific content within it. Well written headings can really improve the user-friendliness of a site
Web writing tips Keep your paragraphs short Short paragraphs encourage people to read more, especially towards the end of a page, when their attention is drifting
Web writing tips Remember search engines Write for your visitors but don’t forget that search engines will look at your copy too. Dropping keywords into headings will help your ranking.
Web writing tips Ensure links make sense To help search engines and blind visitors, ensure your links make sense. “Click here” is meaningless on its own, so say “click here for our contact form” instead.