Writing for the web

  • It is ideal to have a consistent tone of voice across all copy on a website. This creates continuity and prevents the content and organisation appearing fragmented. If there are a number of people with editorial rights to the site, you may like to have one or two central people to run copy through/sign it off to help maintain the organisation’s voice.
  • Use consistent formatting when laying out text (i.e. using headings, subheadings, making text bold etc) it is best to have a standardised way of doing this.

Meet the user need

  • Always keep your audience in mind when creating copy for your website. Try to think about what they would want to get from the site and what tone of voice is suitable for them.
  • Your writing will be most effective if you understand who you’re writing for.
  • To understand your audience you should know:
    – How they behave, what they’re interested in or worried about – so your writing will catch their attention and answer their questions
    – Their vocabulary – so that you can use the same terms and phrases they’ll use to search for content
  • When you have more than one audience, make your writing as easy to read as possible so it’s accessible to everyone.
  • Don’t publish everything you can online. Publish only what someone needs to know so they can complete their task. Nothing more.
  • People don’t usually read text unless they want information. When you write for the web, start with the same question every time: what does the user want to know?
  • Meeting that need means being:
    specific
    informative
    clear and to the point
  • Avoid ‘walls’ of text – break up your content into easily- digestible chunks, and use headings to create sections that humans can easily understand and take in. This is also great for search engine optimization (SEO) because headings (titles) and subheadings (summary) have greater importance than normal paragraph text for search engines. Try to think about what they contain and make the content meaningful and refer to key points of the paragraph text.
  • Good online content is easy to read and understand.
    It uses:
    short sentences
    sub-headed sections
    simple vocabulary
  • This helps people find what they need quickly and absorb it effortlessly