Writing for the web

Writing for the web is very different from writing for print.

Everyone who visits your website does so because they want to complete a task. They may want to find a piece of information, or contact someone, or apply for something. The content of your website must be based around helping your visitors to complete their tasks. The web is a user-led medium.

Link to web communication presenter sessionPresentation about good web communication

This six minute presentation introduces the concepts of good practice in web communication. It has narration and is best used with sound. If you do not have access to headphones or speakers, you can maximise your screen and click on the Notes tab to read the alternative text.

Seven simple steps to writing better web content

  1. Omit needless words - remove half of the words on a page and then try to remove half of what's left.
    • If possible avoid small talk/padding - web visitors want to get at the content.
    • Keep your instructions to a bare minimum.
    • Use bulleted lists where possible.
  2. Think about your audience and what they want.
  3. Links must describe what a user will get when they select them - 'click here' is not acceptable. e.g. See the section on links that work
  4. Try to avoid dead end pages - pages work best if they end in an action.
  5. Be clear and unambiguous - avoid jargon and abbreviations.
  6. Be consistent in your use of punctuation and grammar (see consistency guidelines).
  7. Use headings - they are the backbone of any web page (see headings and emphasis).

As well as reading the information in this section we recommend that you attend courses that will give you practical exercises -

  • Planning Your Website - will help you to focus on your audience and the tasks that they need to complete when they visit your site. It includes a practical exercise on how to structure a whole site.
  • Writing for the Web - learn the difference between writing for print and writing for the web, and how to turn content from printed materials into good web content.

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