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Writing for the Web
Know your audience and their needs
- Use knowledge of your readers to help design your document and try reading it in that light.
- Most people come to your website for:
- to find content important to them;
- to take actions and complete tasks.
Use heads, subheads, and summaries
- Writing style should be brief, clear, compelling and persuasive – help people scan your page.
- Use short sentences – 5‐10 words
- Use short paragraphs – 50 words or less. One‐sentence paragraphs are OK.
- Include sub‐heads that use active words, not labels and that flow from the primary page heading.
- Use bullet points and lists – they are easy to skim and work well with links
- Bold important information
- Use in-text links for extra information
- Write in an inverted‐pyramid style, with the conclusion first, details later.
- Let the reader know the bottom line up front. Offer a brief introduction that lets the reader know what information is being presented.
- Write in a minimalist style, and be to the point.
Pay attention to what is "above the scroll" and page length
- Make sure that the "important" information is visible without scrolling when a page is first viewed.
- It's OK to scroll when content of continuing interest is unfolding. When topics change, it might be time for a new page
- Link to extra information. This works much better with a computer document than a paper one.
- Consolidate small bits of information where possible.
Keep refining your site
- Change pictures.
- Delete/update outdated or unuseful information.
- Get feedback from your audience.
- Keep a list of future additions/functions/features/content.