You're always busy planning ways to improve your website. You've got write better website content on that to do list.
You know your website needs to be easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to use.
You know clear, concise content is at the core of those efforts.
But you don't know where to start. And that's okay. We've got you covered.
Writing great website content doesn't have to be scary. Just follow these tips to write website content that shines.
Summary Tips to write better website copy
- Use short sentences and paragraphs
- Divide information into small chunks with clear headlines
- Make content easy to scan
- Eliminate fluff
- Avoid jargon
- Show numbers as numerals
- Write in active voice
- Speak to your customers
Use short sentences and paragraphs
You don't have to get fancy with compound-complex sentences or convoluted paragraphs that go on for days (or pages).
Long blocks of text can be intimidating. And they look like a lot of "work". Make your content easy to digest. Keep your writing simple and straightforward with short, to-the-point sentences and paragraphs.
Divide information into small chunks with clear headlines
Break up your content into chunks, and use headlines to identify main topics and sub-topics.
Prezi does a great job of "chunking" information, making it easy for new users to understand software features.
Make content easy to scan
Website visitors don't read your pages word for word. They scan web content instead.
Short sentences, short paragraphs and clear headlines all play a role in making content easy to scan.
And don't forget about the power of lists, tables and charts. They're excellent ways to distill complex ideas into content that's quick to read and easy to understand.
The Plain Language Action and Information Network shows how lists make "legalese" much easier to read and understand.
If a deponent fails to answer a question propounded, or a party upon whom a request is made under § 4.70, or a party on whom interrogatories are served fails to adequately respond or objects to the request, or any part thereof, or fails to permit inspection as requested, the discovering party may move the administrative law judge for an order compelling a response or inspection in accordance with the request.
You may move the administrative law judge for an order compelling a response or inspection if:
1. A deponent fails to answer a question;
2. A party upon whom you made a request under § 4.70, or a party on whom you served interrogatories either does not adequately respond or objects to the request; or
3. A party on whom you made a request under § 4.70, or a party on whom interrogatories are served does not permit inspection as requested.
Visitors only read about 18% of information on a web page, and that percent decreases as the number of words on the page increases.
Give people what they need, quickly. Cut out flowery adjectives and other fluff as you write your website content. Be concise and direct, and make every word count.
See the difference brevity makes in this example from the UK's Plain Language Campaign. Would you rather read the before or the after?
|If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone.||If you have any questions, please phone.|
Confusing and wordy, jargon doesn't help make a point or win over customers. Read this excerpt from a Citigroup press release:
If visitors can't understand what you're saying, you can count on them fleeing your website and seeking refuge with your plain-speaking competitors.
Show numbers as numerals
When diving into the facts, represent numbers with digits. Readers find numbers easier to understand that way. Plus, numerals stand out visually. They look different than letters, making it easier and faster to find them.
Write in active voice
You want your writing to convey energy and enthusiasm. Employ active voice to bring life to the online conversation.
- Passive voice: The company's Think Green initiative has been reducing litter and waste around the office.
- Active voice: The company's Think Green initiative reduced litter and waste around the office.
Speak to your customers
When writing for your website, remember who you're writing for. Your website isn't the same as a formal report that you send to your supervisor. Your website is for your customers; write with them in mind. Approach your content with a more informal, conversational style.
How to find out if your website content is effective
If you're uncertain if your website copy is optimized for the people that really matter (your prospective customers), then we can help!
Have more questions about writing for the web? Drop us a line, or share your questions in the comments below!