11 Nov 8 best practices for writing for the web
The average time visitors will stay on a webpage is less than a minute.
When developing web content, it needs to be written in a way that sends the essence of your message quickly and efficiently. Users need to able to scan the text, get the information they want while keeping their attention to continue exploring your site.
In this blog post, I will lay out the 8 best practices for writing for the web that will help increase your web traffic and retain visitors longer.
8 best practices for writing for the web
1. Know your audience
You already know this, write with your audience in mind.
When a reader comes to your site, ensure the following questions are answered.
- Does the website meet my expectation and did your content met the keywords searched?
- Is the navigation intuitive and will they be able to continue their journey on the site
- Is the information simple, easy to understand, and easy to find?
- Can they scan the content and still get the full picture?
- Did the page answer the 5 Ws (what, what, when, why, where)?
- How can I ensure that the page appears on the first page of a Google search?
- What actions should your reader be able to complete when they come to your site?
- Was the reader able to complete the task?
- Did they have a need and what is met?
2. Make your page scannable
Readers will leave your site within seconds if they can’t find the information that they are searching for. Incorporate these elements on your page to make the page scannable.
Keep your page title short
Your page title shouldn’t contain more than 7 words. A title entices and informs about the content on a page. Plus, short titles are easier to remember and to share, keep it brief.
Subheadings break the page and offer general context. This helps readers navigate through the content, especially if the page is long.
Use bulleted lists
Lists are a great way for readers to scan through content.
When including a list, remember to:
- add a title or a short description to introduce the list;
- if it’s a complete sentence, use proper
- the title or introduction can be bold; and
- avoid using long sentences.
Keep paragraphs short and use white space
A page’s layout will determine how well readers can go through the text without feeling frustrated. Using white space and keeping paragraphs short will eliminate this frustration.
When drafting your content:
- ensure that your sentences contain a maximum of 24 words;
- avoid the use of too many adjectives;
- avoid the use of jargon and complex words;
- split your sentence in two if it’s too long; and
- never underline text throughout.
3. Length of your page
The length of pages comes to knowing your audience, how much information they want, and the average time spent on a page. These are some of the indicators that will help create content accordingly.
If you are still building your audience and are unsure of how long the content should be, keep it short and useful so visitors can read the entirety of the page.
- Include important information at the top of the page
- Place your call to action at the end of the page
- White space allows readers to read and retrace the information on the page quickly
- Avoid ad banners, as reader complete ignore theses
- Use vibrant images
4. Think mobile first / responsive design
When setting up your site and content, the design has to contain flexible layouts and grids in order for users to have the same experience across all devices.
Continuously test your pages to determine if they render well and if they are responsive on all platforms. You can use
A great tool to view how your page renders on different devices is Am I responsive?
5. Good use of images
Your website is one of the ways your audience will interact with you. This is your chance to make a good impression.
The use and the quality of images are crucial, incorporate images whenever possible. Use high resolution and keep the image size as small as possible so they can load quickly.
6. Avoid jargon and unnecessary words
Know your audience, write content that they can understand, and get to the point.
- you write in simpler terms;
- analyze the level of difficulty of your text; and
- provide feedback on the readability of your content based on the audiences’ demographic.
If your content is in French, Scolarius is a good tool as well.
7. Load time of your page
Another factor to consider when creating your content is load time. Users will immediately leave your site if it takes too long to load.
Load time might be affected for many reasons, for example the location of your server, large image and video files, too many plug-ins, etc.
Continuously check the speed of your website to determine what elements you can improve to ensure your users are getting to content swiftly.
You can test the speed of your page by using Google’s PageSpeed Insight test.
8. Incorporate call to actions
When visitors come to your site, what task do you want them to complete. Ensure to have clear and short call to actions for a better user experience.
Avoid embedding call to action (CTA) links within a text. CTAs perform better placed at the end of the page where the user is able to get the entirety of the content before proceeding.
These are the best 8 tips you will need to help you write for the web. Following these best practices when developing your content will help improve and retain your visitors’ attention.
Contact us to see how we can help you optimize your webpage content.