3 easy tips to write better for the web

3 easy tips to write better for the web

People don't read on the Internet anymore. They scan.

Attention spans that can only be measured in micro-seconds, together with the never-ending amount of information available online—there are almost a billion websites—mean that you need to grab attentions fast.

Say it quick and say it well.

Even the government has recognised the importance of communicating well. In its guidance 'Writing for GOV.UK', it links to this article: 'How users read on the web' which shows that the majority of web users now pick out individual words and sentences, as opposed to reading in the normal sense of the term.

So how do you engage with them, whether they be lawyers, business people or the public at large?

Here's a few tips how:

Write succinctly and present it well

People want quick answers and will ignore text that rambles on.

Even if text is written well, if the layout and formatting is a 'dog's dinner' then people will move on. Instantly.

According to Time magazine 55% of readers spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. You've not got long.

Accordingly:

  • remove visual clutter
  • vary sentence and paragraph length. By all means get rid of long paragraphs, but equally take care not to break the full stop key on your keyboard by creating hundreds of truncated sentences that read in a gratingly staccato fashion
  • use bullet points. Most ideas can be broken down into them
  • put the most important points first--not everyone will scroll down
  • think creatively. Instead of quoting 'The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Destruction, Retention and Use of Biometric Data) (Transitional, Transitory and Saving Provision

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