Writing for the WebSTRATEGIES FOR CREATING HIGH-IMPACT CONTENTLisa LowSenior Editor, Web CommunicationsFall 2008
Writing for the WebWriting for the Web:Why is it important?
Writing for the Web Web pages must seduce visitors while balancing many issues: woot! Branding Navigation Content Time amazon YouTube
Writing for the Web: ContentContent: A persuasive promise A unique offering Descriptive wording and images that are quickly understood How? • Develop a list of value propositions, brainstorm with faculty, staff, students and others! • Select the strongest candidates • Apply the KISS rule
Writing for the Web: ContentWhy? A visitor’s positive impression starts with a clear value proposition, “your promise(s)” You build trust by fulfilling your promise(s)
Writing for the WebKrug’s First Law of Usability
Writing for the Web: Krug’s First Law of UsabilityDON’T MAKE ME THINK! Web pages should be • Self-evident • Obvious • Self-explanatory Example: Your next door neighbor, who has no interest in the subject of your site and who barely knows how to use the Back button, should look at your site’s home page and say “Oh, it’s a ___.”
Writing for the Web: Writing StyleBrief,Clear,Compelling … …direct marketing style
Writing for the Web: Writing Style Shorter sentences in fewer paragraphs Heads, Sub-heads, call-outs, sub-sub-heads Bullet points Plain English • ”walk” not “ambulate” • No shop talk Emotional language Calls to action!
Writing for the Web: Direct Marketing Style Make it personal “You” and “I” are ok in the right context The first sentence in a paragraph • Can stand alone • Should capture attention • Can be only one sentence! Sub-heads should be • Action words, compelling, motivating Sentence fragments are OK • Really! • For variety! • For emphasis!
Writing for the Web: Writing StyleRemember! Web copy rules of thumb: Web readers scan first, read Just because you CAN, doesn’t afterwards. mean you SHOULD Web readers are very impatient. Get rid of half the words on each You must capture attention page, then get rid of half of immediately. what’s left Build easy to scan copy blocks with plenty of subheads, images, and other graphic elements that convey and support your “promise”
Writing for the Web: OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization Strategies Identify Key Words: Use them! Title and Meta Tags Relevant Page Content Simple Coding Anchor Text Linking from Other Quality Sites Avoid abbreviations of Key Words