Writing for the Web – Some Advice

Friday my students presented reports on research they had done into writing for the web. These are some very important basics. (Thanks to Vinicius, O, and Zinjar.)

The Text:

  • Limit your text to blocks of 75 words or less.
  • Use imagination to expand your list of keywords to use related keywords. If you’re selling underwear for women, include things that relate to that purchase – wedding clothes, wedding undergarments, strapless bras and so on.
  • Use action words to encourage movement towards purchase; for example, participate, enroll, enjoy.
  • Use short sentences with only essential information.

The Content:

  • Don’t just link to additional pages when breaking up a long article. Break it into logical categories.
  • Use the ‘inverted pyramid’. Give the most important information first, then more information, then details.
  • Put your conclusion at the beginning.
  • Use only one idea per paragraph.
  • Leave out unrelated information.
  • Use important keywords about 7 times in 200 words. Don’t overdo it.
  • Keep important keywords near the beginning of your text.
  • However, don’t sacrifice politeness for brevity.
  • Be consistent in the tone of your writing.
  • Ensure that links are relevant. Be careful of sending people out of your site. Also, if you want to retain your link value, use the “nofollow” attribute for outside links.

The Design:

  • Keep design and writing simple.
  • Use internal subheadings to make reading easier.
  • Make the page easy to read. Organize everything logically.

Final Details:

  • Check that everything is correct.
  • Have someone else check your text for accuracy and ease of understanding.
  • Double check your layout in at least Internet Explorer and Firefox. Also check in Safari if you can.

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