Web Writing Tips
1. Understand your audience.
Is your audience prospective students, current students, faculty and staff? Know whom you’re talking to and what they want to know when visiting your site. Depending on who your target audience is will determine the tone and language you use to create your content.
2. Be clear and concise.
Web readers want to locate information quickly and easily. Avoid using long, drawn out sentences or paragraphs filled with jargon. Create brief, direct and informative content.
3. Create content that can be skimmed and scanned.
Readers want to consume information by browsing—using quick glances with brief stops. Most web users will use your site like a billboard—traveling 60 miles an hour and still receive simple, concise information.
4. Write telling headers and teasers.
Headers and teasers are present throughout the entire JMU website to help highlight content from your site. Use these fields to draw readers to your site and provide a preview of what your audience can expect from your content. Most teasers are limited to 256 characters.
5. Use sub-headings, when possible.
Sub-headings provide a way to break up long blocks of text. It makes content scannable and will help your site meet ADA guidelines.
6. Write with active voice.
Writing in active voice develops clear, conversational and engaging content that creates a direct and energetic sentence structure. Passive voice is necessary, occasionally, but when used excessively creates dull, flat, and confusing content.
7. Create valuable links.
Links need create a pathway to a worthwhile and logical location. If additional information exists on another website, create a link to it instead of re-creating useful content. Links within your page should be short, concise and its destination clear; try to use around 3 words to execute your link.
8. Check spelling.
It seems obvious but giving content a last glance for spelling errors is often overlooked. Be sure to proof read content before publishing it for the world to read.
9. Implement “alt” attribute tags.
Alt tags help provide a better user experience for your audience ensuring they won’t miss sections of your website. When using the alt attribute you want it to fulfill the same function as the text it’s representing. Read the Guild of Accessible Wed Designers article, "Writing good alt-text" to learn more about creating effective alt text.