Writing for the web differs from most other forms of writing.  Most people tend to scan websites looking for information.  They therefore do not read the same way online as they do print media.

The successful web writer must create content that is clear and easy to read, uses less words, and that provides useful information quickly.

So, what are the best tips for writing for the web?

1.            The headline of your article or blog must be accurate and clearly understandable, so that it is not taken out of context during a search online.  Both headings and subheadings quickly provide readers with relevant information without them having to search for it.

2.            The ‘inverted pyramid’ is a classic layout for writing online.  In other words, put the ending at the beginning.  You should get to the most important gist of the story within the first paragraph.  Your best and most interesting content should be easily accessible at the top of the page break without the reader having to scroll down.

3.            Keep fonts simple.  Don’t use all capital letters or excessive use of punctuation such as exclamation points.  Keep bold typeface and graphics to a minimum.

4.            Use active voice, i.e. the dog ate my homework (not my homework was eaten by the dog).  And use compelling action words by clearly telling your reader what to do (the call to action), for example completing an opt-in form or signing up for a newsletter.

5.            Write less.  Keep paragraphs brief and to the point by writing one idea only per paragraph.  The entire idea should be evident in the first sentence.

6.            Sentences should be clear, concise, short and simple.  Eliminate unnecessary words.  Use only the words required to get the message across. 

7.            Use proper plain English.  Try to avoid the unnecessary use of slang and jargon.  Where medical or technical terms are used, a glossary may be provided.

8.            Use bulleted lists, but keep them short.  Bulleted lists are easier to scan, and highlight important information in point form.

9.            Omit irrelevant content.  Always write for your reader.  Your audience is interested only in the topic of your site, therefore leave out any unrelated information.

10.          Make navigation on your website straightforward by using effective links and accurately described hyperlinks.  Ensure that all website links work correctly.

What else is there to bear in mind?

Obviously, with all writing, ensure that your spelling is correct and that you use proper grammar. Always proofread your work for typos.

These tips should greatly assist in producing web traffic and growing your readership.

About the Author:

Zelda Fourie is a recent graduate of the Web Writing Course at the Writers’ College. Find out more about her and the writing services she offers here: Zee’s eWrite Zone at http://zeesewritezone.wordpress.com/about/ or http://zeesewritezone.blogspot.com/p/contact-me.html