Best practice for writing for the web
People are coming to your website with a specific task in mind.
When developing your content you need to keep your audience in mind to assist them to complete those tasks.
Your website is always a work in progress.
If you site does NOT assist in completing these tasks your website visitors will leave and head to your competition.
Establish the aim for your pages and aim to include the following:
- raising awareness
How to write friendly content that your visitors will read
- Use the words your users use. By using keywords that your users use, you will help them understand the copy and will help optimize it for search engines.
- Chunk your content. Chunking makes your content more scannable by breaking it into manageable sections.
- Front-load the important information. Use the journalism model of the “inverted pyramid.” Start with the content that is most important to your audience, and then provide additional details.
- Use pronouns. The user is “you.” The organisation or government agency is “we.” This creates cleaner sentence structure and more approachable content.
- Use active voice. “The board proposed the legislation” not “The regulation was proposed by the board.”
- Use short sentences and paragraphs. The ideal standard is no more than 20 words per sentence, five sentences per paragraph. Use dashes instead of semi-colons or, better yet, break the sentence into two. It is ok to start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or “or” if it makes things clear and brief.
- Use bullets and numbered lists. Don’t limit yourself to using this for long lists—one sentence and two bullets is easier to read than three sentences.
- Use clear headlines and subheads. Questions, especially those with pronouns, are particularly effective.
- Use images, diagrams, or multimedia to visually represent ideas in the content. Videos and images should reinforce the text on your page.
- Use white space. Using white space allows you to reduce noise by visually separate information.
Testing Your Document’s Readability
Use Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics feature—part of the Spelling & Grammar check—to measure your progress as you write and edit copy. Try to make your reading ease number go up and your grade level go down. You can improve your readability by using active voice and short words, sentences, and paragraphs.
Review your websites analytics to see where your visitors landing and exit pages. This will assist in showing you how your audience is viewing your content, if the bounce rate is high review and revise your page content.