Writing for the Web

Written by Elena Fawkner

“Today's readers and Web browsers demand frankness and verisimilitude, so your written communications require exacting professional integrity with accurate and adequate research. "For concrete, colorful and dynamic written material that willfully attracts customers, Bob Tony* will work with you to develop unrivaled written communications for your marketing materials, grants, newsletters, Web site, or other publications and articles. To ensure your writing tasks with pacesetting presentation and unparalleled, consistent editorial power, give your deadlines to Bob Tony*.”


* Name changed to protectrepparttar ostentatious and largiloquent. Good grief. “Verisimilitude”? I had to look it up. I’m sure you all know what it means but in case there’s another ignoramus out there besides me, it means “the quality of appearing to be true or real”. How ironic. “Willfully” attracting customers? And does that last sentence even make sense?

Consider that a shining example of how it’s NOT done (writing for repparttar 129709 web, that is).

Before we get to *how* to write well forrepparttar 129710 web, a brief pause to consider *why* it’s important to do so at all. The reason is thatrepparttar 129711 Internet is an information medium. As a general rule, people are looking for information about something when they come online. You have to supply some ofrepparttar 129712 information sought by part of that market (i.e., your target market) if you want your share of traffic to your website. You do that by creating quality content. In order to create quality content, you need to be able to write forrepparttar 129713 web. Is writing forrepparttar 129714 web really all that different from writing generally? Yes. And here’s why.


The first thing you need to understand is how users read onrepparttar 129715 web. Unlike reading a book, online readers scan, or skim,repparttar 129716 page, looking for particular keywords relevant torepparttar 129717 subject about which they are interested. They don’t start atrepparttar 129718 top of repparttar 129719 page and work their way down, reading every sentence.

Some other things you need to know about your typical site visitor (let’s just call him Sam to make it easier): Sam detests hyperbole. Nothing turns him off faster. So keeprepparttar 129720 marketing hype to a minimum and instead make your content objective and somewhat restrained.

Sam is also an impatient sod. He’s going to quickly scanrepparttar 129721 page (as we've seen) and he’s going to rely on your headings and subheadings to orient himself. And he doesn’t want to have to hunt for your point. Give it to him upfront. Also, because Sam really hates this, avoid lengthy webpages that make him have to scroll to keep reading. And keeprepparttar 129722 whole thing short and torepparttar 129723 point besides. If you don’t, he’s out of there in five seconds flat.

So, now that we understand a little bit about Sam, what can we do to capture his attention and keep it long enough to give him what he wants?


To help Sam scan your text and find what he’s looking for quickly, highlight keywords and phrases (either by bolding, using color, a different font effect, whatever will catch his attention). Make sure you use meaningful subheadings, i.e. ensure your subheading makes sense without having to readrepparttar 129724 text below to put it into context.

How To Write for the Web

Written by Amrit Hallan

Amongrepparttar Web's many peculiarities isrepparttar 129707 way people read online text. It took me a lot of time (being a writer who loves to readrepparttar 129708 greats like Dickens and Kafka) to realize how impatient and hurriedrepparttar 129709 general web reader is.

Most ofrepparttar 129710 web readers do not read complete sentences and paragraphs, unless they are reading a white paper or a piece of literature. They generally scanrepparttar 129711 headlines, orrepparttar 129712 words that grab their attention. Web readers tend to scan text online and read text offline. They typically do not read a page from start to finish onrepparttar 129713 computer screen. Instead, they scan a site looking for relevant items and then print pages that containrepparttar 129714 information they seek. You need to apply a style and method to your Web documents that accommodate this type of reading.

I'm not saying there are hard and fast rules for writing forrepparttar 129715 online audience, but if you take care ofrepparttar 129716 following guidelines, you may find yourself onrepparttar 129717 comfortable side ofrepparttar 129718 hedge.


As I mentioned above, an average web reader doesn't read big text streams. Unlike a printed papyrus,repparttar 129719 web is humanly limitless when it comes to seeking information. It's all onrepparttar 129720 back ofrepparttar 129721 reader's mind thatrepparttar 129722 moment he or she begins to feel bored, just a few clicks are required to go somewhere else.


Write in a conversational tone whenever possible. Use lots of You 's, I's and Me's. Keep a free flow and keep throwing attention-grabbing expressions at your reader. No, it doesn't mean you create a nuisance or insultrepparttar 129723 sensibilities of your reader, but try to be as formal as your subject allows.

A few months back I used to write technical tutorials for a management portal. The chief editor had hired me as a freelance columnist because of my casual but incisive style. The senior management, sadly, objected to my style and said I should tone down my humor and makerepparttar 129724 tutorials sound serious and bookish. While I was writing in my style,repparttar 129725 portal was getting great response andrepparttar 129726 readers were lovingrepparttar 129727 tutorials. When they curbed my style,repparttar 129728 popularity declined vertically, and soon, I got bored and stopped writing for them. They closedrepparttar 129729 web site last week because many subscribers asked for refunds.

Lesson learnt: no matter what'srepparttar 129730 field, a typical web reader does not read pedantic stuff. I don't know why, butrepparttar 129731 web makes them funky.


Try not to divide a single topic among various pages. Ifrepparttar 129732 message is interesting and relevant, your web readers would like to read it on a single page no matter how long and bulky that page is, rather than pressingrepparttar 129733 Backward and Forward buttons.

I have seen this myself, and know how irritating it is to having to go to various pages to read just one article or product description. Fine,repparttar 129734 web readers prefer shorter pages, but it doesn't mean if a paper consists of thousand pages then we should have to click thousand pages to read that paper. It's better that allrepparttar 129735 content is on a single, linear, scrollable page.

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