Writing content for a website requires a different approach than from the print media. As net surfers often have short attention spans, the writers should try to grab their attention with great text and presentation style. Online articles are often scanned and not read word by word. Whether one is trying to sell products on a commercial website, or just writing an article for the web, he should try and stick to information rich content with highlighted important points.
An important study has revealed that relative usability of a content on the Internet is: 58% higher when it is written concisely; 47% higher when it can be skimmed through; and 27% higher when it is written in an objective style, instead of the promotional style used in many web pages. Just an implementation of these three changes resulted in 124% higher measured usability of an article. It is also seen that reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper, and hence, web content should be 50% of its paper equivalent. Keeping all these factors in mind, following are some tips for good web writing:
Follow the Inverted Pyramid Structure: Unlike the content in print media, articles written online should follow the inverted pyramid structure. It means that the conclusion should come before the introduction and body of the content. Following this approach enables the readers to get the whole idea of the topic in first few lines itself, and then, they can easily skim through the rest of the texts, looking for important points.
Write Relevant Content: The content should be relevant, and while writing, one should stick to the concept of brevity. It may be tempting to write something related to you, but if it doesn't relate to the site or topic, you should try to avoid it. Generally, netizens want information, and unless the page is informative about the given topic, it serves no purpose.
Use Active Voice and Verbs: While writing online content, passive voice should always be avoided, and the use of active voice should be preferred.
Include Internal Sub-headings: Internal sub-headings help readers to directly move on to the required information from the provided texts. Suppose the topic is Information Technology, then the important sub-headings can be History of Information Technology, Advantages of Information Technology, etc. However, one should not over subdivide the information, which may leave the readers overwhelmed and frustrated by too many choices.
Be Concise and Avoid Redundancy: While writing, one should always try to limit himself within the precincts of the topic. This is important as going out of the domain will lose the sole purpose of providing information on a given topic. Unnecessary usage of long phrases not only takes time to read but also leaves the readers unsatisfied with the provided information. Redundancy of text may also lead to wastage of reader's time. One should try to use lists rather than very long paragraphs, but only when the prose is justified by such treatment. It's easier for readers to pick out the relevant information more easily, if the content is in the form of a list rather than a paragraph.
Avoid Plagiarism: Generally, the Internet can provide information on any topic. Thus, make sure that you avoid plagiarism, and try to come up with original, engaging, and useful content on the given topic. As a writer, one should always respect the copyright policies and be creative enough to write something original.
Give Appropriate Internal and External Links: Most of the time, there are various terms and jargons in an article, which cannot be explained within the content. Such terms should be tried and linked to relevant web pages in order to provide full information on the topic. The linked pages can be internal or external, depending on the policies of the website for which one is writing. A linked text should provide the reader a reasonable expectation of what he will get when he clicks on it. While providing links, one should not break the flow of the article, and try to keep the text of the link different from the color of the words surrounding it.
The aforementioned tips can prove to be helpful, only if the writer decides to be creative and writes something that is worth the time of the readers. As there are millions of readers who surf the net every day in search of information, writing is the best way to reach out and express oneself.