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Writing for the Web
May 2013
Key Points
• Less is more: cut half of the text, then cut again
• Make it immediately clear why this is useful
• Don’t wander from the page’s purpose
• Make it scannable:
– Use good headings
– Use lists as much as possible
• Be direct: use readers’ words and active voice
• Link using text that’s clear about the destination
• Make text timeless
Passive Voice Obscures
• Applications must be submitted
• A decision will be issued
• Upon completion of the process
Use Direct, Short Phrases
• No
– At the present time
– In the current location
– Your examples?
What’s Easier to Read?
Link Tips
• Link using text that’s clear about the destination
• Make the file type clear if the link isn’t a Web page
• Use unique links
• No:
– Phones & plans
– Smartphones & apps
• Start sentences with the link, not the sentence. Add
explanatory surrounding text only if necessary.
Link Text
• Examples of poor link text
– Read more
– Click here
• Examples of good link text
– Fact Sheet: Background information on the FDA/EPA Consumer Advisory
on Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
– Technical Memorandum: Origin of 1 meal / week Freshwater Fish
Consumption Rate (PDF)
– Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest (Instead of Read more…)
Link Tips cont.
• Make links scannable with unique beginnings
• No:
– How to install a router
– How to install your server software
– How to install your browser software
• Yes:
– How to install:
• Router
• Server software
• Browser software
Scannable Links - NOT
Better
Improving the content
• Pesticides are one component (better word: part) of a comprehensive strategy for controlling
bed bugs. Currently, there are over 300 products registered by EPA for use against bed
bugs – the vast majority (better word: many) of which can be used by consumers. Several
classes of chemicals are utilized in these products -- each class share a similar mode of
action, or way in which the chemical affects the biological functions of a bed bug.
• To help you find a product, EPA has developed a Bed Bug Product Search tool to help you
find a product that meets your needs.
• If you find that a particular chemical treatment seems to be ineffective (better phrase: didn’t
work) , please read When Treatments Don’t Work before reapplying or trying a different
product. You may want to consult (better word: ask) a pest management professional to
inspect your residence (better word: home) and, if needed, apply approved pesticides to
treat any infestation. For assistance (better word: help) with choosing a pesticide registered
for consumer use, you may also check with the Cooperative Extension Service office in your
area.
Content not related to audience
• The economic
impact doesn’t
matter to the person
(or caregiver) who
wants to avoid an
episode of COPD
Content not related to audience
• Lots of people have it.
The stats don’t add
value for the audience.
• Two sets of symptoms
makes it unclear.
Make Text Timeless
• Avoid dating words
– Today
– This year
– Last month
• Use years, specific dates, even on the day you
publish, with past tense
– On May 2, 2013 …
– In 2012, we …
Resources
• EPA requirements:
http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/writing-web-
requirements
• Howto.gov: http://www.howto.gov/web-
content/manage/write-for-the-web

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Writing for the Web

  • 1. Writing for the Web May 2013
  • 2. Key Points • Less is more: cut half of the text, then cut again • Make it immediately clear why this is useful • Don’t wander from the page’s purpose • Make it scannable: – Use good headings – Use lists as much as possible • Be direct: use readers’ words and active voice • Link using text that’s clear about the destination • Make text timeless
  • 3. Passive Voice Obscures • Applications must be submitted • A decision will be issued • Upon completion of the process
  • 4. Use Direct, Short Phrases • No – At the present time – In the current location – Your examples?
  • 6. Link Tips • Link using text that’s clear about the destination • Make the file type clear if the link isn’t a Web page • Use unique links • No: – Phones & plans – Smartphones & apps • Start sentences with the link, not the sentence. Add explanatory surrounding text only if necessary.
  • 7. Link Text • Examples of poor link text – Read more – Click here • Examples of good link text – Fact Sheet: Background information on the FDA/EPA Consumer Advisory on Mercury in Fish and Shellfish – Technical Memorandum: Origin of 1 meal / week Freshwater Fish Consumption Rate (PDF) – Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest (Instead of Read more…)
  • 8. Link Tips cont. • Make links scannable with unique beginnings • No: – How to install a router – How to install your server software – How to install your browser software • Yes: – How to install: • Router • Server software • Browser software
  • 11. Improving the content • Pesticides are one component (better word: part) of a comprehensive strategy for controlling bed bugs. Currently, there are over 300 products registered by EPA for use against bed bugs – the vast majority (better word: many) of which can be used by consumers. Several classes of chemicals are utilized in these products -- each class share a similar mode of action, or way in which the chemical affects the biological functions of a bed bug. • To help you find a product, EPA has developed a Bed Bug Product Search tool to help you find a product that meets your needs. • If you find that a particular chemical treatment seems to be ineffective (better phrase: didn’t work) , please read When Treatments Don’t Work before reapplying or trying a different product. You may want to consult (better word: ask) a pest management professional to inspect your residence (better word: home) and, if needed, apply approved pesticides to treat any infestation. For assistance (better word: help) with choosing a pesticide registered for consumer use, you may also check with the Cooperative Extension Service office in your area.
  • 12. Content not related to audience • The economic impact doesn’t matter to the person (or caregiver) who wants to avoid an episode of COPD
  • 13. Content not related to audience • Lots of people have it. The stats don’t add value for the audience. • Two sets of symptoms makes it unclear.
  • 14. Make Text Timeless • Avoid dating words – Today – This year – Last month • Use years, specific dates, even on the day you publish, with past tense – On May 2, 2013 … – In 2012, we …
  • 15. Resources • EPA requirements: http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/writing-web- requirements • Howto.gov: http://www.howto.gov/web- content/manage/write-for-the-web

Editor's Notes

  1. http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/docs.cfm?program_id=0&view=allnpdes&sort=name&amount=all