Writing for the web is not the same as writing for printed materials. Attention spans on the web are short and reading on the screen is often uncomfortable. Let me guide you through some key tips, to make your content easy to read and capture the attention of your visitors.
To understand how to write for the web you first need to consider how people will read your pages, or unfortunately, how they don’t read.
Statistics and research on how people read a web page show that:
As most people scan web pages very quickly it is important to write content that takes advantage of this. Write summaries to encourage further reading. The first paragraph should be a summary of what the rest of the page will say.
Using meaningful headings throughout your copy will pin point the most important information you want to communicate. Headings are signposts for the reader and will encourage them to read more.
Most people only read 20% of a web page so make sure the important information is not buried in too much copy:
A good guide to word lengths:
If you need to make several important points in one paragraph put these into a list. Bullet points are easier to scan.
Make the words in your links informative and they will be easier to find and draw more traffic. Links also have an effect on search engine ranking. If your link includes the key words for its content the web page is more likely to appear in search engine results.
Forget the ‘what’, focus on the ‘how’ – Web Credible
Compelling headlines to improve your search engine ranking – Web Credible
Plain English tips for clear websites – Plain English Campaign
Letting Go of the Words – two free chapters from the book by Janice (Ginny) Redish
Website Reading: It (Sometimes) Does Happen