Writing content for a website is hard. According to Nielsen Norman Group people read text on screens 25% slower than they do on paper. Read on for a few tips to help make your writing better and more optimised for the web.

Write more you than you think you need. Then edit.

While short and concise text may be the ultimate aim, it is very hard to write this way.

It is far easier to write more than you need, then get rid of the bits you don’t need – or the bits that suck.

Trying to write a really concise sentence is very hard indeed.

Use headings

On the web people predominately do not read, they scan.

A heading helps scanning as it breaks up text into smaller chunks.

It also helps group and organise your thoughts when writing.

Use your company name more

When writing about the business – think about pages – the word “we” is overused.

Mix it up and also use your company name because:

  • It adds variety
  • Helps with SEO

Write info that people ask

Customers and clients will ask you the same questions. Your website should answer those questions.

One common piece of information companies like to omit is price. They think it boxes them into a corner.

If you really cannot publish a price, give people an action where they can get the price. For example, “contact us for a quote”.

But avoid questions in headings

While you want to address questions, headings in general should be statements.

Instead of writing:

What is the Process to becoming a Qualified Nurse?

Write:

How to become a Qualified Nurse

For sans-serif fonts use bold not italics

In general err on using bold to add emphasis to text when using sans-serif fonts.

The reason is that italics in many sans-serif fonts are not well drawn and don’t provide enough distinction.

With serif fonts, italics look significantly different. Also never use both together.

Use bullet lists

While you can write a list in a sentence, in general a bullet list – or unordered list – is better.

Bullet lists are great because they are:

  • easy to scan
  • information is absorbed rapidly
  • key details stands out

Don’t double space after full stops

Adding a double space after a full stop is WRONG. If you were taught this in school, your teacher was wrong!

Double spacing has never been correct. It is a typewriter habit to stop keys jamming.

A single space is all you need.

Link text

The best advice I’ve heard is to treat the link as a property of the text, rather than the other way around.

What this means is instead of writing “click here” or “follow this link”, write “view jobs” or “learn more about product X”.

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