Writing for the web

Writing for the web is different than writing for printed publications.

Web readers multitask and access websites across of variety of devices. User testing shows that web readers tend to scan a site until they find content that intrigues them, and then switch to reading (Nielsen, 2013). As writers of web content, it is our job to design our content in a particular way.

  • Web content should be clear, correct, and concise - this helps with mobile usability of sites where users tend to require information quickly.
  • Keep your content within the page - don't rely on left-side menus, use in-text links in the body of your content.
  • Use short, simple language, and shorter sentences, so your audience understands your content - researchers recommend an eighth-grade reading level for the sites of post-secondary institutions (Cohen, 2013).
    • You can use read-able.com to determine the grade reading level of your content.
  • Choose active over passive voice.
  • Encourage scanning by breaking your content up with headings, bulleted lists, bold and italics text.
  • If your content is lengthy, consider breaking the content into multiple pages.
  • Rather than duplicate content, link to original sources.
  • Avoid using underline and ALL CAPS.
  • Use descriptive links to identify what readers will get when they click a hyperlink. Avoid "click here."
  • Work keywords into the body of your content - this helps with search engine optimization.

To learn more about writing for the web and web best practices, sign up for our advanced Site Builder training session.


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