Even when you’ve been writing web content for a while it’s always a good idea to take a step back and read an article or two that will help you refresh the techniques that make for effective web copy. Even if you come to working on the Internet from another discipline like journalism or even business writing, there are a few things that are exclusive to Web content you need to keep in mind.
First of all you need to take into account studies have shown our collective attention span has become shorter over the years so that means that people in general can only process smaller bits of information. I’ve also read that the information age has made the whole attention span issue worse by constantly distracting you and giving you all kinds of choices as to where you want to point your concentration.
So that means in the context of Web content that you want to write in shorter paragraphs and sentences. You should aim to have a concise and brief text as well that usually aims for half the words you would have used in the print medium. However, there are some rules that apply to Web content that are crossovers from the print way of doing things in general and journalism specifically.
For example when you are writing web content the simple word is the one you should always choose over the more elaborate model. Usually you will find that the simple word is the one that has a clear and concise meaning. You should also use the inverted pyramid style as another left over from the print journalism years because it allows readers to get to the information that’s most important quickly because you’re placing it at the top of the article.
There are several other factors that you need to take into account to make sure that you are holding reader’s attention and another one beyond style is credibility. It’s never a good idea when you are writing web content of any kind to make elaborate claims that you cannot back up. Wherever possible it’s even a good idea to include a URL or an actual link to the origin of the information.
You also need to supply your readers the information that you want them to have in bit sized chunks so that they find it useful. It’s an important consideration to keep in mind that people who are reading Web content on the Internet often suffer from overload of information. You want to be aware of the fact they often only scan articles or large portions of text so you can use bullet points and even bolding to direct their attention to where you want them to go.
While writing web content isn’t that much different than journalism in many different respects, it’s important for anyone who wants to make a career of this to be able to write in a conversational style so that the reader feels like they being made privy to information and not talked down to.