Web writing is different enough from other types of writing to have its own rules. The reason you need to write differently for the web is that people read differently here. Generally, people don’t like to read online, so they’ll appreciate anything you can do to make it quick and painless. That includes making it brief and scannable so they can easily find the information they need. Here are some additional tips for web writing:
Write for People
The first rule of web writing is to write for people. It can be tempting to target your text to search engines. But, remember what drives search engine results: people. Do use sensible search engine optimization strategies, but not at the expense of reader comprehension (no, Google does not count as a reader).
Break Up the Text
There are many formatting options to use for making your web writing readable and scannable:
- Brief paragraphs
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Bold and italic text
- White space
Use these options strategically to break up the copy, to make it easier on readers’ eyes.
The beauty of the web is the ability to link to other information. Use hyperlinks not just to point to additional sources, but to lend credibility to your copy.
Get to the Point
“Get to the point” is good advice in any type of writing, since people are generally too impatient to wait for you to build up to some exciting revelation, but especially true on the web where you have people’s attention for just a few seconds before they decide to read more, or move on. Once you have established the main point, follow up with details.
Keep It Conversational
A friendly, conversational tone is usually appropriate for web writing. Of course, your level of formality will depend on your topic, audience, and brand. Use your best judgment, but remember that it is likely your website is your reader’s first interaction with you. If they were walking into your business location, you would do what you could to make them feel welcome; you should endeavor to do the same online.
What are your strategies for web writing? Let us know in the comments! About the Author:
Karen Marcus, M.A. is a Northern Colorado copywriter who has been helping clients in a wide range of industries to put their best word forward for 13 years.
Need assistance with your web writing? Karen can help! Click here for contact info.