Writing for the Web: Engaging textual content for online assets

Users on the web are task-oriented. They have an objective in mind. It’s your job to point them to the information they seek, as effortlessly as possible. Unlike writing for other mediums, the challenge for any web writer is to keep things brief and anticipate the reader’s requirements.

If your site is an informative one, anecdotes and long introductions will not be effective. Let go of everything you learned in English class. Here’s a set of quick and fast rules to follow to ensure that your writing is efficient and effective:

Keep It Simple
The most important advice you can take when writing content for the web is to keep it short and simple. Visitors to your site will not read every word. So your content should have the most relevant information upfront and other information should be easy to locate.

Make Content Easily Accessible
Web readers are impatient. They don’t read. They scan. They look at headings and subheadings, quickly searching for the information they want. It takes for the average web surfer three to five seconds to decide if they are going to read a web page, or just click away. That’s the time frame you have to grab attention. Use it wisely.

Succinct paragraphs and easily digestible chunks of text are important.
Use lists, descriptive headlines and sub-headlines to help point your users to the most important content.

Use bulleted lists to break up blocks or text.
Provide overviews, especially if the topic is a complex one. It can help the reader decide if this is the information they are looking for.

Write Front-Loaded Paragraphs
Start a paragraph with your conclusion. Visitors to your site want information quickly. You shouldn’t make them wade through unnecessary information to get to the point. You can then follow the paragraph with the rest of the details.

Use Active Voice
Younger users generally have a shorter attention span than older users, so getting to the point immediately is important. Using an active voice will ensure your content is clear and direct. You risk sounding dry and bureaucratic when writing in a passive voice.

Have A Goal
Before you begin, ensure that you know your audience. Who you are talking to? What do you want to say and how you want them to respond? Do you want them to contact you? Or sign up for a service? Lead the user to the next action point.

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