UCLA Portal Blog

Everything you've wanted to know about the Portal but were afraid to ask.

Archive for October 2009

7 Tips for Writing Effectively for the Web

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I’ll get to the point because I know your attention is precious. Statistics show that web readers read about 25% more slowly from screens than from paper. 79% of web surfers scan pages instead of reading word-for-word. So cater to your reader by staying focused, writing concisely and providing the information they need.¬†¬†These eight tips will help you convey your message effectively.

  1. Write to your target audience.
    Try to envision one individual in your target audience. Write to that person. Feel free to use “you” when addressing your reader.
  2. Identify your main message.
    The one question you must answer is: “What is the one thing I want to get across on this page?” When you’ve determined your main message, put it in the first sentence of your article. Use simple sentence structures because complex writing is even more difficult to understand online.
  3. Keep your content focused.
    Don’t beat around the bush. Tell the reader what your article will cover, then give the reader what you promised. When concluding your article, be sure to re-state what was important about the article, and where applicable, tell the reader what to do next.
  4. Format the text for scannability.
    Large blocks of text can come off boring and difficult to read. So, if possible, convert large paragraphs into bullet-pointed lists. Make use of boldfacing to highlight important subheadings and important words. But don’t boldface entire sentences. Use numbering when a list’s chronology is important.
  5. Use meaningful titles, subheads and lead-ins.
    The rule of thumb is titles and subheads should inform, rather than entertain. Create article titles using the content’s key words, phrases or references. Avoid using puns, slogans or clever language. They have no place in service-related web writing and may only confuse the reader.
  6. Be consistent.
    Refer to the Portal’s Writing Style Guide for a list of grammatical and spelling guidelines to keep your content consistent with University standards.
  7. Use the Portal resources.
    Each article has a designated area for Article Summary, Contact Information and Related Information links. These are designed to help your content appear stronger online, so keep them in mind when developing articles.

If you’ve read this far, I salute you. Now go make us proud.

Written by uclaportal

October 31, 2009 at 12:34 am

Posted in Best Practices