While written content for the web follows many of the same rules and guidelines for written content, the nature of how people read while viewing online content is different from the way people read content that is in print form. Accordingly, taking into account the particular nature of writing on the web can greatly increase your content’s readability and efficiency.
How People Read on the Web
Anyone will agree that reading from a computer screen is much more difficult than reading from a book or magazine. As such, people will skim over web pages instead of actually reading them when they first look at a webpage. Also, readers will pay closer attention to headings, subheadings, links, and other specific portions of a text while reading online.
How to Write on the Web
Paying attention to these facts will help you to write content that will attract more readers, and create a more enjoyable experience for the reader. Incorporating the following 5 points will help you make your web content easier to read:
· Be Brief: Brevity is perhaps even more important online that it is offline. Since reading online can be a greater strain on the reader’s eyes, writing less can make the content more manageable and comfortable for the reader.
· Be Visually Brief: In addition to actually writing less content, it is possible to make large amounts of text seem like smaller amounts of text. This can be achieved by breaking up large chunks of text, or large paragraphs, into smaller amounts of texts. Find ways to break up large amounts of continuous text into smaller amounts text. This can be easily achieved by being direct. Each set of text should express only one idea, have one point, or one objective.
· Be Direct: Each section of the text should express one or as few ideas as possible. This will allow breaking the text down into smaller sections, as described in the previous bullet point. This will also make the text easier for the reader to skim, as each small section of the text will clearly state its point.
· Effective Headings: The same advice for a text’s body can be applied to its heading. A heading that is brief and direct will be the most effective at attracting a reader’s attention. Since the heading will most likely determine whether or not a potential reader will become an actual reader, it should brief enough to be attractive, and direct enough in order to tell the reader exactly what the article is about.
· Effective Subheadings: Since readers will quickly skim over writing on the web instead of giving it a thorough read through, subheadings can be used to efficiently organize the text, as well as to provide a road-map for the text. While scanning over the document, readers’ eyes will be instantly attracted to the subheadings, and the subheadings will help the reader determine if they would like to give the content more attention.
The Importance of Web Style
While a piece of writing may be great for print publication, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for the web. Following the previous 5 guidelines can help to make writing that is tailored to how people read on the web. Doing so, your content will be easier and more comfortable to read, and that means that more people will read it.
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