OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Best Practices for Web Writing

In many ways, writing for the Web is similar to writing for print: Always keep your audience, messages, personality and goals in mind. Get your ideas across quickly and keep your readers engaged. Maintain a consistent and conversational style, tone and voice. In addition, there are several other factors to consider when writing for online readers:

  • Keep your valued information at the top. Content that requires users to scroll vertically loses up to 80 percent of its readership. Your introductory sentences or paragraphs for any key landing pages are prime real estate for your messages.
  • Make your text scannable. On average, users read about 20 percent of your content per page. Be concise. Be relevant. Use short sentences and action verbs, and cut inessential text without sacrificing your identity. Highlight essential words. Use bulleted lists to draw out information.
  • Be organized. Designate a top header for your page that conveys its importance and meaning. Make sure your headings clearly indicate the content of each section. 
  • Stay fresh. Outdated Web content will confuse your users and make you look lazy. Make sure your staff and contact information is up to date and remove past events from your site.
  • Embed your links. Try not to call attention to your links with words like "click here." Instead, underline the relevant text in your content and link from there. 
  • Look good. Whenever possible, work with a designer when artwork is required.
  • Help people find you. Keep the titles of your pages short, and use words that will help users find you when searching. Be clear. If the title of your page or piece shows up in a search, will users know what it means? Make sure your headline represents your content, too.