Improve Your Web Writing: 6 Simple Tips
Writing for the web isn’t like other writing. You’ve got a niche audience with a micro attention span who won’t read very closely. They want useful information, fast, and they don’t want to work hard for it.
Clueless about writing for the web? You don’t have to be. Here are 6 simple ways to take your web writing to the next level.
1. Have one purpose per page. Stay on target—make sure you’ve only got one goal for each page. Determine the one message or call to action to focus on, and stick to it. Multiple messages can be distracting or confusing for your readers, and they make you look unfocused. (Okay, if you absolutely must, you can have two closely related goals.)
2. Get to the point. You’ve got 3 seconds to convince your readers to stay on your page. Don’t waste it with fluff or a wordy lead-in.
3. Make it skimmable. This isn’t a novel and your readers won’t have the patience to lose themselves in your web page. Make the content easy to skim through. The best way to do this is to break it up into bite-size chunks and emphasize key points. Here’s a few ways to do that:
- Headings. Use section headings throughout your page.
- Bullet lists & numbered lists. Lists help make content easy to digest and quick to read.
- Bold type for key words and phrases. Bold text stands out when you’re skimming, so your readers can easily spot key points. But DON’T overdo it! Too much bold just makes your reader feel yelled at.
- Short paragraphs. This helps break up the content into bite-size chunks and keeps your reader from feeling overwhelmed with verbiage.
4. Make it short and sweet. Keep the length to 300-500 words. If you’re having trouble using fewer words than that, consider breaking the content up into two or more pages.
5. Use plain language and sound friendly. You need to sound professional, but you want to show some personality, too. Wording shouldn’t be stiff or too formal, unless your audience will expect it (this usually applies only to academic research websites, etc.).
6. Remember SEO. Include keywords in the content that your visitors will be searching for. But DON’T overload your content with keywords. You can find a lot of information online about writing for SEO.