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14 things to remember when writing for the web

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1. Reading on-screen is hard for everyone, so people scan online content

The use of subheadings makes that easier for the user and they are more likely to engage in at least some of your content

2. Headline count

Headlines should be about five to ten words.

3. Introductions/Descriptions 15-25 words

Search engines normally only use the first 20 words of the description tag.

4. Paragraph length

Paragraphs should be four to five lines, no more.

5. Online users like short lines, ten to 20 words (75 characters)

This makes it easier to keep you place when transitioning from line to line.

6. They don’t mind scrolling up and down for content

The scroll wheel is our saviour and if the content is good, users will scroll.

7. Bulleted or numbered lists make users’ lives easier 

Lists are easier to read with items arranged vertically.

8. Use numbered lists when items decrease in relevance or prominence to their headline 

Not only do users expect the number-one tip to be more important than the tenth, search engines pick up on this and assign priority to content within numbered lists!

9. They can’t remember your web address

Can you remember every website address you go to? Give users ways to subscribe to alerts, newsletters, social media and forums. Remind them that they can get all this great content sent to them by taking part in these lists and groups

10. When linking, never use “Click here” as your link text

Avoid linking the words “Click here” and “Here” like the plague. From a usability point of view you are not providing a large enough click area. Linking four or five words will make navigation to the links much easier.

11. They don’t want to log in

It’s another password they won’t remember – and people don’t like giving away their personal information

12. People don’t care about clever headlines

Internet users are scanning your content and need to be told, using very simple language, what something is about. For example, “Weird Fish hooks finance” should read: “Clothing brand Weird Fish gets multi-million backing”

13. Internet users aren’t enticed by mystery 

Don’t ask questions; tell them they will find answers in your articles.

14 Internet searches are questions 

People are looking for clear answers. Make sure you provide them.

Do you have any tips for writing for the web? 

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