How to write for the web

Although people go to websites for information, web users read scarcely anything online. Web writing must be brief and to the point, because web users:

  • are often looking for specific information
  • are task oriented and want content they can act on
  • want to construct their own experience, often by piecing together content from multiple sources
  • read very few words (only around 28% of the words on a page in an average page view).

So it’s important that information on the web is:

  • easy to find – with the most important messages up front and optimised for search engines
  • easy to navigate – with intelligent grouping and labelling of information
  • easy to read – using plain English and avoiding dense text.

Some basic tips

Web content must be written so that it can be scanned easily. Specifically:

  • summarise your content up front – interested people can then read more if they wish
  • use short paragraphs (each containing 1 key idea), and leave plenty of white space
  • use informative headings to provide readers with clues to what is on the page
  • outline information using bullet points – they are easy to scan and read.