Writing for websites is different from writing for print media. Numerous usability and eye tracking studies have shown that website visitors skim and click. They don’t read thoroughly or linearly. To draw users into your text and to improve your site’s “skim-ability,” use these well-documented tips:
- Get to the Point – Site visitors have a reason for coming to your site. Don’t slow them down with self-serving content.
- Use Subheads – These help the reader quickly determine the type of content on the page and find the parts that interest them.
- Use Bulleted Lists – These are the essence of skim-ability. A list of services, products, or locations, for example, is very easy for the reader to understand and use.
- Highlight Keywords – Use bold, italics, or color to emphasize keywords in your text that help the reader find the subject of the content. (Be careful about this; you don’t want the visitor to confuse highlighted text with hyperlinks.)
- Use Short Paragraphs – Break it up. Long blocks of copy are death on a website.
- Use Short, Active Sentences – Dump the adjectives and work the verbs. Craft sentences that jump, sing, cry.
- Follow the Inverted Pyramid – Put the most important information — who, what, when, where, and why — within the first sentences, with more detail following.
- Use a Simple Writing Style – Write the way you talk. Read your writing out loud to make sure it sounds natural.