What You MUST Know About Writing for the Web
Writing for the web is different from writing for print publications.
Always remember this important fact:
People read 40% s-l-o-w-e-r from a screen that they do from paper.
- People do not read long articles from a computer screen.
- People's eyes tire quickly when staring at a monitor. This causes their mind to lose focus and drift. The result ... people absorb less from reading onscreen text.
- People tend to scan-read from the screen, rather than read every word.
If your articles are long and detailed, because of the nature of the content, people will print them off to read. So ensure that they are VERY easy to print without parts of the text being cut off.
In general, these are the guidelines for writing online:
- Spend time choosing a punchy, descriptive and compelling headline.
- Summarise the story in the first sentence, or paragraph.
- Summarise the story in the last sentence, or paragraph.
- Keep paragraphs short (no longer than six lines).
- Keep sentences short.
- Try to use images in all the articles.
- Make the layout visually attractive with plenty of white space.
- Use bullet points and numbers.
- Keep the articles short.
- Break articles up with plenty of sub-headings.
The good news is, once you get used to writing for the web, you’ll find it a lot easier than writing long and detailed articles for print.
“Remember, when writing for the web, people read 40% slower from a screen than from print”.
You will also find that one long article for a print publication can become three or four articles for web publication.
Let me give you an example.
One of our editors recently took a single article about buying a house in Spain that they had written for a magazine and turned it into three web articles:
- “How to Find Your Dream Home in Spain”
- “How to Find an Honest Lawyer”
- “Buying in Spain? The 10 Things You Must Do That Could Save You £1,000’s”
Note: The articles on this site are deliberately written in a style that can be broken up into shorter articles and read from a screen. Notice how the sentences and paragraphs are short. There are lots of bullet points and numbered items. The articles are broken up using sub-headers and plenty of white space.