It is important to remember that writing content for your website pages is not the same as normal writing. People visit your website to find some specific information or item, so make sure that you make it easy for them to find it.
Reading from the screen for an extended period of time is generally an unpleasant experience for most users, so you can make it easy by following the following simple rules:
Write for your audience
Provide the information your visitors are looking for in an easy inviting way. Use your visitors’ language, not yours. If you use words that people are searching for it will allow them to find your website easily as search engines, like Google, utilize those words in their indexing of your website.
Your visitor must know what your page is about at a glance and whether it will interest them. Make sure your first heading and paragraph make this clear.
Pull-out quotes can also be very effective in drawing readers in to your text. This is a technique used in newspapers and magazines, taking a few relevant words and placing them in a large font to the side of the text will grab your visitor's attention.
Consistency and Relevance
Provide information your visitor will be interested in, in a concise to the point manner.
Even complex subject matter can be presented in a concise manner. Start with the broad strokes and narrow down, giving more and more detail towards the bottom of your page. This is known as the 'inverted pyramid' style of writing.
Don't state obvious information and don't repeat yourself as this will annoy most visitors and possibly make them abandon your website. Be vigilant not to repeat text in the body that has already been made clear in the headings.
Avoid unnecessary content such as marketing blurbs or 'welcome' messages as most visitors will not bother reading them and it will only serve to confuse the visitor and hide information the user might have been interested in.
Use every day normal language; don't use long fancy words, if short ones will do. Remember the purpose of the page is to provide information, so make it easy to absorb. Avoid convoluted syntax, specialist vocabulary and over-use of acronyms.
Help visitors navigate your page, by following a set editorial style. If you follow a set style it will make your page look more professional and provide the visitor with a pleasant and engaging read.
Make sure that the editorial style you decide on using does not clash with default browser settings such as underline text. Browsers will underline text that are hyper-links so if you underline text headings or emphasize words by underlining them, it will confuse your visitor. Remember also, that large amounts of text in bold or italics are difficult to read on screen. As far as possible don't write words all in capitals, as it indicates shouting.
Headings and subheadings are useful for structuring information for scan ability. Use two or three levels of headings so that your visitor can navigate the information easily. Proper structuring of your page will also assist search engines in correctly identifying and index your page content.
It is critical that you check your page grammar and spelling. To effectively get your message across it is important to follow the rules. Remember, you may well be writing for users for whom English is a second language. Non-standard use of English can only confuse users.
Avoid promotional hyperbole. Consider your target audience and use your common sense. Avoid using the passive tense where possible. Most users will engage more readily with content written in the active tense.
Search engines can index pages out of context and allow visitors to access sub-pages directly; so, keep this in mind when writing the content for your pages. Ensure that each page carries enough information to let the visitor know where they are and what the topic is. Don't worry about repeating yourself from one page to another. You can never assume that a user has seen any of the other pages on your site.
Call to action
All pages should have a single purpose that ends in a call to action, such as a “contact us”, a phone number, a form, etc. After reading a good piece of web content the visitor should either know something they didn't know before, or be able to do something they couldn't do before.
Images in the body text
Although images on a web page suits most web users' style of reading, they should be used sparingly, especially on higher-level pages.
It is important to evaluate if an image's illustrative value and contribution to clarity of the subject at hand outweighs the disadvantage of slower page loading times due to the size associated with most images.