Five tips on writing for the web

Five tips on writing for the web

Writing that is to be read online is different from writing that will be read in print. Here are a few pointers you can use to improve the quality of the writing on your website.

1. Use the inverted pyramid rule

The inverted pyramid rule means that your content should cover the most important points at the top of the article and as your article continues, the importance of what you are writing about should decrease.

If you have the most important point at the top of the article, skim readers, who may only read the first few sentences, get the gist of what you are trying to get across.

It can be helpful to list all the points you wish to make in an article and sort them in order of significance. This approach can help you plan and structure your text.

2. Be brief

People don’t like wading through long pages of text online, so try to keep your writing as brief as you can. To quote George Orwell:

“Never use a long word where a short one will do” and “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out”.

3. Break up articles for skim readers

People tend to scan pages of text online rather than reading from start to finish. There are a number of ways you can break up your text to make it more ‘scanner friendly’. These include using:

  • headings and subheadings
  • bullet points
  • bold text
  • links.

4. Use the active voice

Using the active voice instead of the passive voice in your writing can make it concise and reduce ambiguity. The active voice is a grammatical term, meaning that the subject of the sentence is the agent of the action. It is probably best illustrated by some examples.

Passive: “The rugby ball was kicked by the boy.”

Active: “The boy kicked the rugby ball.”

Passive: “More information about our products can be found on our website.”

Active: “You can find more information about our products on our website.”

5. Proofread

Spelling mistakes and typos will make your writing (and the business you are writing for) look unprofessional and lazy. Take time to proofread and fact-check your writing thoroughly before publishing it.

Sometimes it can be difficult to spot errors in your own work so ask a colleague to read over what you have written to see if they can spot any errors.

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Glen Senior
Glen Senior

CEO Glen Senior has been helping small businesses start and grow since 1989. Along the way, he has published 6 books on small business development and business planning, created training courses, built e-learning platforms, and developed Microsoft USA’s Small Business Plus program which was delivered into 9 countries.Since 2005 Glen has focused on the banking sector and has built up an extensive knowledge of how banks can engage with the small business segment. He has presented at a number of small business banking conferences and is sought out as an opinion leader in this space.