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Writing Web Content That Works

Writing for the web is easy, when you’ve got the “know-how.” Get the right write advice from the Webmaster and learn how to write web content that works.

Picture this.

There are three magazines on a table. You pick one up and thumb through the leaves while you wait for your dentist’s assistant to call your name. 30 minutes later–still no call. You set the magazine down, and try another. Only one left to go.

Now imagine you are sitting in that same chair, in that very same dentist’s office–only this time, you’ve got a laptop. The wireless connection is unsecured and strong. You don’t just have 3 outdated issues of Woman’s Day–you’ve got the world wide web! Named so because with the help of this portable, engaging, overheating apparatus, you have the world at your fingertips.

What are you going to do? With the speed and efficiency of the internet giving you instant gratification, most feel the need to use it to thier fullest potential. This means scanning, skimming and skipping all the beloved copy that some poor writer placed there for you to read.

Don’t fret, writers. There is a solution. Your writing can still be amazing, astounding and astute. You can still dazzle with words and captivate with copy. Here are a few tips for writing web content that “works.”

Condense

I could rant. I can spew a lengthy stream of consciousness that would melt your brain and leave you changed forever. When it comes to web, however–keep it short. Studies show that the average person browsing the web does not read full paragraphs. They tend to jump around the screen, picking up snippets of info here and there. Condense your writing to the facts. Bullet points are a terrific solution for times when your information just needs to be there, and not structured into paragraphs.


Example:

Typical paragraph:

The common household cat is an amazing creature. The cat can live to the ripe old age of 14 years and still hunt. They are also very flexible and can contort their bodies into many unusual positions. Cats are lovers of the night. They hunt, groom and sharpen their claws mostly at night. Cats must sleep for most of the daylight hours and can get up to 16 hours every day. Wouldn’t it be great to be a cat?

Web content that works:

The common household cat is an amazing creature. They:

  • Can live up to 14 years.
  • Are very flexible.
  • Are mostly nocturnal.
  • Sleep for up to 16 hours a day.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a cat?



The bullet points get the “point” across, and still capture the feeling of the content.

 

“Call out!”

Web “call-outs” are eye-catching and carry more weight than long paragraphs. Bring the reader into the fray with large text, bold fonts and italics. Enforce the theme by calling out pieces that are more substantial than the rest. You can use color and font styles to bring the important copy into the spotlight.


Example:

Typical paragraph:

Come visit the beautiful city of Orlando! The downtown area has many attractions for adults and families alike. Lake Eola lights up the night with a cascading waterfall and lit walkways for romantic strolls. Watch the graceful swans float their way across the lake without a care in the world. Treat yourself to amazing downtown dining with great restaurants and dinner shows. Don’t forget the theme parks! Orlando boasts 7 major theme parks, 3 water parks and more family attractions then you can possibly see in one week–so why not stay for two?

Web content that works:

Come visit the beautiful city of Orlando! The downtown area has many attractions for adults and families alike. Lake Eola lights up the night with a cascading waterfall and lit walkways for romantic strolls. Watch the graceful swans float their way across the lake without a care in the world. Treat yourself to amazing downtown dining with great restaurants and dinner shows. Don’t forget the theme parks! Orlando boasts 7 major theme parks, 3 water parks and more family attractions then you can possibly see in one week–so why not stay for two?



Cut it up

When you just cant cut any more copy and your site is still getting lost in a sea of words–it’s time to paginate. Split your content into more than one location. Like a newspaper, when your article or story is longer than is “web friendly,” cut the copy in a reasonable place, (preferrably not in the middle of a sentence.) Put the remainder of the story on a different page and the full story is only a click away. Use clever link titles such as “Read more”, “Get the full story,” or “Take me there!” If your reader wants to continue reading, then they will take the time to click the link and read on.

Well folks, that’s it for now. I hope that my tips have helped you write your way out of the “web void.” Web content that works is attainable. Just remember the three “C’s” of writing for the web:

  • Condense
  • Call out
  • Cut it up

Good luck and happy writing!

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