Although people go to websites for information, web users read scarcely anything online. Web writing must be brief and to the point, because web users:
- are often looking for specific information
- are task oriented and want content they can act on
- want to construct their own experience, often by piecing together content from multiple sources
- read very few words (only around 28% of the words on a page in an average page view).
So it’s important that information on the web is:
- easy to find – with the most important messages up front and optimised for search engines
- easy to navigate – with intelligent grouping and labelling of information
- easy to read – using plain English and avoiding dense text.
Some basic tips
Web content must be written so that it can be scanned easily. Specifically:
- summarise your content up front – interested people can then read more if they wish
- use short paragraphs (each containing 1 key idea), and leave plenty of white space
- use informative headings to provide readers with clues to what is on the page
- outline information using bullet points – they are easy to scan and read.
For more information about how to create clear and effective content, see our practical guide: A quick guide to effective content.