Key Advice Blog

Three top web writing tips

Posted on: 22/04/2010

Despite all the promotions of the importance of website content being accessible, usable and understandable, it still rates low in web planning commitment. A study by Next Communications, website teams are still rating design, SEO and development as top priorities (over 50%) and content at the bottom of the web planning chain at 10% importance.

Yet, users continue to report their frustration at not being able to find, understand or use information on websites. So how do we bridge this gap?

First get a clear picture of your audience, readers, site visitors. Who are they? Where are they coming from? How old are they? What is your relationship with them? What do they want?

Then adopt these three top web writing guidelines:

1. Use headlines to help lead your readers through the text. Newspapers are popular for a reason. Ease of finding information is one of them.

2. Write in a concise style to meet the scanning style web readers use, which is different from print readers. People often know what they want before going to a website – so make it easy for them to move through your content to find it.

3. Use language that is understandable by your readers. Avoid lingo, tech terms and abbreviations they may not be familiar with. If you have to use unfamiliar words define them, or pre-empt problems with a FAQ section.

Content is still king. But don’t turn it into a pauper by ignoring tried and tested website content guidelines.

Resources:

Plain Language Websites

Jacob Nielson’s Writing for the Web vs Print

Website Tips

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