Writing Tone and Style
Writing for the web is different than writing for print because people read web pages differently than they read printed information. In fact they read much, much less and only read what they think is worth reading.
How do users read on the web? They don't.
Here are some tips to make your websites easy to read:
- Write clear, simple and effective content. The content of your site should be easy to read for everyone, preferably in a conversational style.
- Front-load your text. Put the most important content on your page in the first paragraph, so that readers scanning your pages will not miss your main idea.
- Chunk your content. Cover only one topic per paragraph.
- Be concise. Write short paragraphs and minimize unnecessary words.
- Write in active voice instead of passive voice. (Ex: ‘Tom taught the class’, instead of ‘the class was taught by Tom’.)
- Choose lists over paragraphs. When possible use lists rather than paragraphs to make your content easier to scan.
- Limit page length. Web readers don't mind scrolling, but you shouldn't make it a mile long!
- Write Clear links. Don’t create links that use the phrase ‘click here.’ Write the sentence as you normally would, and place the link anchor on the word or words that best describe the additional content you are linking to. 7 plus or minus 2 words is the ideal length for an effective hypertext link.
- Writing for the Web: Quick and easy tips for non-writers http://www.webreference.com/content/writing/
- Web Teaching Articles: writing for the web http://www.dartmouth.edu/~webteach/articles/text.html
- How Users Read on the Web http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
- Be Succinct! (Writing for the Web) http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9703b.html