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Writing for the web

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A poorly written website can detract from your site and send visitors away.

 

Because of the vast amount of information available on the Internet, users are becoming increasingly discerning in what they read.  If the information on your site is poorly written it can detract from your message and send visitors away. Consider the following when writing for your website.

 

Keep it short
Grab the attention of your readers by delivering short messages and using short sentences.  Long sentences that stream from side to side of your web page are harder to read, and can look visually unprofessional.

 

Make it easy to skim read
The majority of readers will scan your webpage or article (rather than read every word). To help them, you need to make your webpage easy to scan by breaking the information into ‘bite sized’ pieces. Use variation such as; headings and subheadings, bullet lists, numbered lists, step by step instructions etc. Images, photos or video content which supports your message may help.

 

Start with the conclusion
Readers may not make it down to the end of your webpage, so make sure you get your point across in the first paragraph.

 

Think about titles
Capture the readers’ interest by using exciting titles. Keep them short. Consider including the main benefit or solution to pique their interest. For inspiration, take a look at the type of short front page headlines used on weekly magazines and on newspapers.  

 

Target your audience
Avoid generalising - think about who your audience is and write specifically for them. Make your text personable and friendly. Appeal to emotions, especially if you are trying to sell a product or service.

 

Don’t waffle
Your text should be rich with information and succinct. Avoid using technical jargon where possible. In addition, ensure your links are descriptive.  If you can, try to avoid using ‘click here’.

 

Write professionally
Typos, errors and hard to read text will detract from your message and turn visitors off your site. Get your text proof read. It may be helpful to print off your text and read it in hard copy a day later, to help you spot mistakes and areas for improvement.

 

Do your research
Ensure your content is factual and accurate. Having misleading or inaccurate information on your website can significantly undermine and damage your credibility and reputation.  

 

Want to know more?

For more information on writing for the web, refer to How to Write Successfully for the Web. A Google search on the topic will provide a range of resources, tips and tricks.  Many online marketing agencies now produce useful e-books on the subject, and there are plenty of free and paid online training options available too.   

 

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