Writing for the web is much different than writing for print. Here are some tips on how to write content that ‘fits’ on the web.
Use simple sentence structures, short paragraphs, lists, and diagrams. Most website surfers don’t read every word, but scan for the highlights. Therefore long sentences and/or paragraphs which force the visitor to dig for the information will drive visitors away. Utilizing lists and diagrams are an effective way to break up the monotony of paragraphs and keep the user engaged.
Use keywords liberally. Keywords are what is used to describe the words or phrases that you expect an internet user to type into a search engine in order to find your site. Your site will receive a higher ranking in search engines, and therefore be found by more users, if you write your content with those keywords in mind, using them as early and often as possible without losing the readability factor for the actual visitors. Each page on your site will have its own keywords, though some may be shared by multiple pages or even the whole site. Let your web designer know what those keywords are for each page, so that s/he may include them where s/he needs to.
Don’t abuse caps. Capital letters belong at the beginning of sentences and proper nouns. On the web, all caps is translated as shouting and are rarely, if ever, received well. It is also proven harder to read all-caps, so will decrease the usability of your site to use them. A more effective way of providing emphasis is to make use of bold and italic font styles. These options are also more aesthetically pleasing, and are better at drawing the eye of visitors to your point.
Hold the line. By default text links are made blue and underlined. These settings can be changed to make the link appear in a different color and/or not be underlined, but people are used to it this way and expect that when they see words underlined that it will be take them to another area when it is clicked. When visitors do not get the desired effect, they presume something is wrong with the site and credibility is lost. A wise site owner recognizes this and does not use underlining as a means to draw importance to the text.
Prove it. Lend credibility to your site by linking certain pieces of text to reputable organizations that you are referencing, or that agree with the point you are making. Links should be to specific pages, such as to a particular study relevant to the point you are making, whenever possible.
Check it. Read over your document thoroughly, looking for grammatical errors as well as misspellings. It is best to use a third party for this- be it a friend, word processing program, or both.
Create a description. Write a description for your web developer to include in the header of the page. This description will appear under the title of your page in a list of results that are returned from a search engine. Each page should have its own description for best results from the search engines, ensuring that the right customers are driven to your website. It is wise to make sure your keywords are used in this description.
Be personable. Show a sense of humor and a little of your personality. A site that fails to allow the visitor to make a personal connection is a site that fails to make money.
Green Turtle Studio