Sunday, March 30, 2008

Writing for web - best practices

  1. Write relevant content
    It may be tempting to write more than what is essential, but if it doesn't relate to your site or page topic, leave it out. Web readers want information, and unless the page is information about said topic, they really won't care, even if it is a good metaphor for what you're trying to say.
  2. Put conclusions at the beginning
    Think of an inverted pyramid when you write. Get to the point in the first paragraph, then expand upon it.
  3. Write only one idea per paragraph
    Web pages need to be concise and to-the-point. People don't read Web pages, they scan them, so having short, meaty paragraphs is better than long rambling ones.
  4. Use action words
    Tell your readers what to do. Avoid the passive voice. Keep the flow of your pages moving.


  5. Use lists instead of paragraphs
    Lists are easier to scan than paragraphs, especially if you keep them short.
  6. Limit list items to 7 words
    Studies have shown that people can only reliably remember 7-10 things at a time. By keeping your list items short, it helps your readers remember them.
  7. Write short sentences
    Sentences should be as concise as you can make them. Use only the words you need to get the essential information across.
  8. Include internal sub-headings
    Sub-headings make the text more scannable. Your readers will move to the section of the document that is most useful for them, and internal cues make it easier for them to do this.
  9. Make your links part of the copy
    Links are another way Web readers scan pages. They stand out from normal text, and provide more cues as to what the page is about.

    Always Always Always

  10. Proofread your work
    Typos and spelling errors will send people away from your pages. Make sure you proofread everything you post to the Web.