We tend to scan text on a web page - we don't read every word: reading from a computer screen is about 25% slower than reading from paper.
The guidelines below will help you write suitable web copy.
GOV.UK are world leaders in content design. Key guidance: "Do not publish everything you can online. Publish only what someone needs to know so they can complete their task. Nothing more."
GOV.UK - Writing for the web
Users may arrive at your page from multiple starting points:
Consider this when writing page titles, and make them specific.
To make sure your content is user-focused, start by creating user stories.
The basic format of a user story:
As a ________, I would like ________ so I can ________.
Additional information to include on your page:
Make sentences short and easy to read. Instead of "it is strongly advised that you should always seek independent advice on these important matters," use "seek independent advice."
Assign one idea to each paragraph so visitors can easily scan a paragraph then move onto the next.
Front-loading means putting the conclusion first, followed by the what, how, where, when and why. This helps readers:
Break up paragraphs of text with descriptive subheadings. This allows users to easily scan the page to find what they're looking for. Using subheadings will also force you to group the content logically. If you can't think of a clear, instructive subheading, the text may not actually be relevant to your users.
Use bold to highlight important words.
Don't underline words as it makes them look like links.
Link text stands out on screen and helps users scan for keywords. Avoid "click here" or "learn more". Phrases like this don't tell readers where the link will take them. You're forcing them to stop scanning and read around the link in order to get context.
Find out more:
Comparied to paragraphs, bulleted and numbered lists are usually:
What should users do next? Always try to provide links to further information. This could be a form, additional guidance, contact names, or another related page on the site.
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