Web Writing Tips-The Top 20
The average reader of online text is not a member of the grammar or spelling police force, they simply want information. However, good grammar and correct punctuation make text easier to read and give the reader confidence that the writer is competent. Writing for the web is significantly different to writing for publication in other media. What follows are some simple tips that can help a writer make the transition successfully.
- Be a ruthless editor of your own work. No line is so perfect it cannot be shortened or improved.
- Do not assume the reader has the same knowledge as you do, instead create a frame of reference. What this means in practice is that buzzwords are out. Do not assume a reader knows what a MIG welder is; explain it so they can visualize it. What you know about and take for granted may be a mystery to the reader. Explain clearly and concisely. Assuming a reader knows what keyword density is and what it should be usually leads to confusion.
- Writing newspaper style is best. Put the complete synopsis in one line. First tell the conclusion then add the details.
- Reading habits on the web differ from elsewhere. To write on the web effectively the writer must understand it and plan for it. Web readers skim pages. Read the first and second lines; look for keywords and notice sub topics. They then read to gain information, and finally click to interact with the site or gain more information.
- Answer questions the reader may not have thought to ask. Your goal is to convey information and that means you should not only look at your writing from the reader's point but should answer questions they may have and include answers to questions they may not have thought of yet.
- Have a goal in writing before you start. A goal means why you are writing on a subject. What message you plan to convey, and who is your audience. You must know how you want your target audience to respond as well.
- Understand the architecture of the site you are writing for. Writing for the web means the audience will have chosen that article based on a snippet, on a search engine. . Include the most important information in the title and the description in order to help the reader know where they are going and what they will see.
- Keep your information to a single page when possible. Using other pages on a site is simple it is true but can force the reader to open up a page, check the data and then return to the page. Keep it all together whenever possible.
- Do not overcomplicate matters. Simplicity is best when explaining or when giving instructions. Consider what the reader actually wants to know, include that, and do not add to it.
- Unnecessary introductions should be removed. If the writer has no idea, what to write then complicated introductions may be used. The reader has no use for those, so lose them.
- Spell it out and keep it simple. Buzzwords are used in almost every industry as well as acronyms and they do not belong in web writing. Do not use buzzwords or acronyms. Spell them out and never assume the reader knows.
- Web writing should not involve extra verbiage. In order to gain attention for a newspaper ad or a magazine ad then hype will be used. However, on the web you have their attention, so move on to creating a desire for your product and provoking action.
- Good web writing is not necessarily great literature. Get to the point and give the visitor what they need.
- Make the article useable and easy to scan. Use bulleted or numbered lists. Use sub headings and topic headings. Use bold fonts on appropriate words such as the first line of a task.
- Subheadings should communicate a message. The subheadings are easier to read and outstanding, make sure they are also informative. Typically, online writing will use more subheadings than other forms of publication.
- Edit your work and then re-edit your work. Editing involves answering the questions; does this article say what it needs to say? Can I say it with fewer words? Can I make the article simpler?
- Do not forget to write for the search engines. Search engines read not only what is printed on the page and visible to the reader but also Meta tags which most users never see. Include your Meta title, Meta description, and keywords lists spaced out by commas in your page.
- Do not write only to match keyword density. Keyword density (the frequency that a word is used on a page) is important for SEO but it will not help convert a surfer into a buyer. Generally, well-written text will do that and improve SEO.
- Write clean code. Writing for the web will usually involve writing simple code that will display the page on the site. This includes Meta tags and titles. Closing your statements such as
hiis clean code. It will make the article display just as it should on the site and will not confuse the search engines.
- Write directly to the reader. The imperial "we" is fine for the Queen but writing to the reader and addressing them as "you" can give you are writing a more personal feel. It is an effective technique in some circumstances.