Web Writing Tips
Keep it short and simple
Flashy writing doesn't work on the web. Readers want information, and they want it fast. Short sentences have a better chance of conveying your message than lengthy, wandering prose. Keep each paragraph focused on one idea (under 60 words).
Did you know…
That you lose 40 percent of your readers after only 300 words?
Write in the inverted pyramid style
Don’t make readers scroll to the end of your text to get to the point you want to communicate. Say it first; embellishments, examples, and details can follow, perhaps on another page.
Use action verbs
When possible, avoid using is, have, and was.
Keep page headlines straight-forward to quickly explain the page content.
Moving printed material to the web
A good rule of thumb when moving printed material to the web is to cut the word count by half. That means chucking adjectives and really focusing on your message.
Break up big blocks of content
Nothing says “Don’t read me” faster than a big block of words. Try breaking the text block into bite-size portions. Bullets and bold can really help. Subheads can help, too.
Understand how people read on the web
Web readers “scan” web pages. Make it easy to scan with relevant subheads, bulleted lists, and bolded key words.
Grammar counts! Use spell check!
Is it there, their, or they’re? Not sure? Look it up, or ask a colleague. Grammar and spelling errors reduce your credibility as a communicator.
You don’t need to say it all in one text block. Use links to provide more detailed information and drive the reader to the next piece of purposeful information.
Use the right words for the link
Use words for the link that tell the reader at a glance where they are going. Make it intuitive. If they have to click the link to figure it out, you missed the mark. In general, avoid using the phrase “Click here”.
Use the University styleguide
Give your readers a uniform presentation of language. Nothing says “unprofessional” like inconsistent presentation of the same sort of information from one page to the next. Dates, times, and titles, for example. See www.bucknell.edu/Styleguide for details.