Writing for the Web BY KATRINA ESCO email@example.com
WHY CAN’T YOU WRITE THE SAME ONLINE AS IN PRINT?• Physical Difficulty• Attention Span
Web Writing: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW• How to write for readers who scan• Headlines matter• Marketing speak doesn’t• Some grammar rules can be broken
WRITING FOR READERS WHO SCAN The F-Shaped Pattern An ‘About Us’ section A Product Page Google search results
The F-Pattern in ActionNebraska is filled with internationally recognizedattractions that draw large crowds of peopleevery year, without fail. In 1996, some of themost popular places were Fort Robinson StatePark (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff NationalMonument (132,166), Arbor Lodge StateHistorical Park & Museum(100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum ofthe Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo BillRanch State Historical Park (28,446).
The F-Pattern in ActionIn 1996, six of the most-visited places inNebraska were:• Fort Robinson State Park• Scotts Bluff National Monument• Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum• Carhenge• Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer• Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park
What the F-Pattern means for writing1. The first two paragraphs the most important information2. Begin sentences with the most important words3. Write fluidly to move readers through the text.
WRITING FOR THE WEB“A long article might contain moreinformation, but if it takes too longto read, users will abandon thewebsite and read shorter, easierpieces elsewhere.” – Jakob Nielson (Alertbox)
Headlines Matter “The lady is a Trump” – NY Daily News headline (2005)“The lady is a Trump”– NY Daily News headline (2005)
Headlines: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW• Writing headlines is a craft.• Keep them short and direct.• Sell it. Your headline is the introduction to your text.
Good Headlines “New burger targeted for McLean times” “Superman to die, so steel yourself”“Small step for man, big gaffe for NASA: agency erased tapes of 1st moon landing”
Its no longer just reporting the headlines of theday, but trying to put the headlines into somecontext and to add some perspective into whatthey mean. -Bob Shieffer, CBS
Drop the Marketing-Speak• Web writing needs to be 3 things: 1. Concise 2. Scannable 3. Objective
Concise“A good editor should be able to cut 40% of theword count while removing only 30% of anarticles value.” – Jakob Nielson (Alertbox)
Scannable1. Bulleted/Numbered lists2. Bold text3. Images that represent text
Grammar Rules to Break1. Use actual numbers2. Use ‘single quotations’ in a headline3. Break up chunks of text so that blocks / paragraphs are 3-5 lines rather than 3-4 sentences.
Let’s Review• Reading online is physically difficult• Online readers have short attention spans• The F-shaped Pattern increases reads• Headlines matter• Marketing speak doesn’t so be direct.• You can break some grammar rules
Other Tips• Use photos of real people rather than stock photos when possible.• For long posts, draft an abbreviated version and link to the full-version.• Your newsletter counts as web writing. Approach it the same way.