Writing for the Web

I did a short workshop on writing for the web today. I like making content for the web and designing websites, although I don’t have the skills to make them myself. I’ve managed a few websites in my time, but I’d like to learn more.

Here are some top tips and notes from the session…

  • Every page should make sense on its own
  • Not everyone makes the same journey to the page – make sure they can get the full info whatever direction they’ve come from
  • People read web pages using the F-model, make sure it is written in a way suitable for ‘scanability’
  • Give your content some hierarchy with headings
  • White space and ‘scanability’ are important. Use: headings; bullets (important 3 things first); short paragraphs (one topic/one paragraph); be concise in your writing; and use images that match copy
  • Make a page that matches what you are trying achieve – think about who the audience is and what they need to know and think so they do what you want them to
  • Ask yourself what you want the audience to: Think > Do > Feel
  • Clear calls to action makes a site more exciting
  • Capture data (use a disclaimer)
  • Where does the person expect to find the information? Don’t organise content based on organisation structure. This is information architecture.
  • Link to content, don’t duplicate because it will look like SPAM to the visitor and to search engines who will not optimise your site for searching
  •  Avoid text that reads and looks like an advert. Keep information as information, sales talk puts people off
  • All people care about is themselves, so tailor the info to suit their needs
  • ‘Personas’. Try to think about who will be looking your info and make up a persona for them, then look at your website and see if it delivers what they need in a way that makes sense to them. Look at the Natural History Museum for an example.
  • Content Strategy Approach – mind set and approach. The traditional way tells people you are a rock star, content marketing shows the world you are a rock star.
  • Don’t just tell people, prove it.

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