5 Tips on Writing for the Web

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Today’s theme:  web surfing.  Remember that term, because it’s an accurate description of how people use the Internet.  We skim, we flit, we float about and if your page is difficult to read, we will click away.  Here are five writing tips to make your pages “stickier.”

  1. 14 pt. font.  It’s the easiest font size to read online.  Smaller, we squint and click away.  Larger and it looks like a website aimed at grade schoolers.  I’m referring specifically to body text here.  Headlines can be larger print.
  2. Short paragraphs with breaks in between.  Same reason for this as above.  When confronted by a wall of text, the surfer in us rebels.
  3. Black text, white background.  I’ve been told that studies have shown that other text colors and other backgrounds (including photo backgrounds) make people click away.  I haven’t actually seen these studies but am inclined to believe this, because this is how I behave online.
  4. No jargon.  If your website is aimed at an audience of industry pros who understand your industry jargon – okay.  But the rest of us need simple, direct language that we can understand.
  5. A Killer Headline.  I confess, writing a good headline is devilishly hard for me.  But headlines should arouse curiosity or sell a benefit because ultimately, your website isn’t about you.  It’s about your customer.
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