How to Write for the Web

Clients sometimes tell us that websites are like root canal for their organization. It can be quite difficult to step outside and see your organization from your audience’s point of view. Of course, as marketers, we can help with that. Here are some shortcuts to effective writing:

Be brief

  • Organizations know they have no space limitations on what they can communicate on their website — so they often post everything! Unfortunately, this decision ignores their vistor’s needs and interests.
  • Reading from computer screens is about 25% slower than reading from paper. In order for a website to be readable, you need to assume it won’t be read — visitors are much more likely to scan website copy. One way to help is by using heads, subheads and call-outs to give the visitor entry points to your copy.

Write objectively

  • Most website visitors are looking for information. If you use overheated marketing language, you erode your website’s credibility, and your visitor’s patience.
  • The “inverted pyramid” structure used by journalists is a good model. Their articles lead with the conclusion, then give supporting points, and finish with in-depth background.

Be organized

  • Your website’s organization, or information architecture, is critical for attracting and retaining visitors. If your visitor can’t find what they want — immediately — they will leave. Information architecture should address your visitor’s needs and interests. If it only takes into account your organization’s point of view, your website will lose visitors.

For more information on website writing and usability we recommend Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox. Visit here.

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FACT OF THE MONTH

A group of unicorns is called a blessing.