Writing For The Web

Organize Thoughtfully

Time is valuable, and visitors to your website want to find what they are looking for and move on quickly. If they cannot do this, you risk losing them. Keep the most important information at the top of your pages and make it easy for a visitor to find.

Break Up Your Content

Attention spans are limited. Make your content easy to scan. Breaking it into small, easily accessible and chunks helps visitors read more of it and find exactly what they’re looking for. Utilize headlines and subheads to further break up content, as well as bulleted lists.

Use Links within Your Text

Incorporate your links within your text, rather than using phrases such as "click here" or "more." Having a sentence or a phrase as a link will make it clear to your visitor exactly what is going to happen when they click it. It also saves space.

Make Your Content Accessible

The median reading level for an average American is the 8th grade. Also English is not the first language of many of our visitors. The following guidelines will help serve many of your visitors.

  • Keep your content simple and straightforward
  • Use terms your visitor will understand
  • Avoid jargon, overly formal language or highly technical terms at the highest levels of your site (These terms may be acceptable on lower level pages within the site, such as faculty pages or research-related pages, whose audiences will expect to find the language.)
  • Use keywords that your visitor will expect to find

Keep it Short

Use as few words as possible in your content. Keep your writing tight.

Proofread and Edit Your Copy

Check your facts and your spelling. Do not only rely on a computer spelling or grammar checker. Have somebody who is unfamiliar with your content check it for accuracy. It may be helpful to print your pages and proofread them away from the computer, as mistakes are often easier to find.