Effective Writing for the Web (1): Introduction

Why is Web Writing Different?

When you write for the web, you are writing for people to read your words on a screen. Not on paper. This has an impact on how you write.

Think about how you read something on a screen. Chances are you scan the material. You look for headings that indicate that there is content you are interested in. You may read more quickly than you do when you read words on paper.Web

These fundamental differences in how people read on the web mean that you have to write differently.

Staying on Track

One overriding thought can help keep you on track. Always remember that your reader is reading the material on a screen.

Of course, as with any writing, you have to write to your audience. You have to use the language that your users use and are familiar with. You have to provide content that is interesting and useful for the users.

In this series of posts, we will look at different aspects of web writing and I will give you tips based on my experience and research.

Basic Principles

To kick off the series, I want to start with five basic principles:

  • Get to the point quickly
  • Use a concise, simple writing style
  • Write in plain English
  • Use short, relatively simple sentences and short paragraphs
  • Use active voice, rather than passive voice.

Keep these in mind when you’re writing for the web and you’re on your way to effective web writing.

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