Let your readers find the information they need quickly. Web content should be easy to scan, accurate, up-to-date and reader-oriented. When writing for the Web, these tips can help:
- Write for your visitors, not yourself. Think of who they are, what terms they understand, what questions they might have, how much they already know about the topic, and what they find interesting.
- Center the information in any particular page on a specific topic.
- Write concisely. Include only relevant content; use short sentences and paragraphs; and avoid repeating similar ideas, and using redundant adjectives.
- Respect the basic rules of grammar.
- Use simple language. Write in plain English, using simple words that are familiar to readers, instead of jargon and terms only your department is familiar with (unless your website is for a specialized audience). Prefer the active voice and positive, rather than negative, language.
- Structure content for your intended readers. Prioritize information using the “inverted pyramid” method, i.e. put key ideas at the top of the page and at the start of each paragraph.
- Use headlines and subheadings with a clear and logical hierarchy to help readers browse the page easily.
- Use short bulleted or numbered lists to make important details stand out, and to summarize information in logical blocks of text. Include step-by-step guides when possible, rather than long narratives.
- Use easy-to-read text styles (e.g., left-aligned text, few italics and capitals, extra lines in-between paragraphs).
- Write for search engines. Place descriptive page titles. Use keywords in each page, several times and each time a bit differently, if possible, so that the page comes up high in many search engine results. Use alt tags in images.
- Check your facts. Make sure that web content is accurate. Use credible and up-to-date sources. Attention to detail is essential. Always proofread your work. Do not rely on spell check. Pay attention to commonly misused words.
- Use a proper tone. Avoid emotional and subjective language, as well as exaggerated expressions. Watch for insensitive words that might offend readers of specific religious, gender, cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Avoid sudden tone shifts.
- Use meaningful links that concisely describe the target. Make sure that links lead to correct destination pages. Avoid overuse of links that could interrupt the flow of reading. Be careful when using links that lead to external sites because they take readers away from the LAU website. When the link is to something other than a webpage, indicate the document type and size in the link title.
- Use the LAU Editorial Styleguide for guidance on capitalization, usage and more.