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Writing for the web

Websites require a unique style of writing. Novelists paint a picture with words. Reporters report the news with dramatic flair. Academics explain complex ideas in context with citations. Web content writers share information as succinctly as possible.

People consume websites differently than other forms of media: they don’t read; they skim. They will read only about 20 percent of the words on the average page. 

How do you make your website easy for users to digest?

  • Do not say in 150 words what could be said in 75. Do not say in 75 words what could be said in 30.
  • Long sentences with complex structures that endeavor to explain in complicated terms a topic that could otherwise be described in a more straightforward manner are best avoided. Use simple sentences.
  • Put the essential and most interesting information at the beginning. Include additional information in order of diminishing importance.
  • Use terms that are commonly used to describe your topic. Avoid using proprietary terms and abbreviations as much as is possible.
  • Break up your text with brief but descriptive headings and subheadings so users can find information faster.
  • Use bulleted lists in place of long series or text lists.
  • Sentence case is much easier to read than uppercase. To emphasize an important point, use bold.