twitter_icon fb_icon GTS eNews Button

Education resource for the group travel supplier


Thursday, 29 August 2013 05:42

Thirteen Writing Tips for the Web

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Just writing your message on your website is not enough. In order to effectively inform and/or persuade your users, it is essential to understand how people consume text on websites. This is because of two contradictory truths:

  • Reading is the primary action people perform on websites, and
  • Many people strive to read as little as possible on most of the websites they hit.

A new report from website usability expert Jakob Nielsen, Website Reading: It (Sometimes) Does Happen used eye-tracking studies of hundreds of users interacting with websites. The report details how effective page layout and good information architecture can guide users to your content. Once the user is there, though, the content must deliver. Using before-and-after case studies and examples from popular websites (such as The New York Times and Wikipedia), the report offers eighty-three guidelines for web content.

Here are a few:

  • Put the most important words first.
  • Write clear and very descriptive titles for pages.
  • Heading content should be concise and descriptive and stand out from the rest of the text.
  • Lead with the most important messages.
  • Tell it like it is and people will want to read more.
  • Define technical terms in place.
  • Link to pages that have simplified explanations.
  • Spell out and define acronyms.
  • Employ illustrations, tables, lists, and charts to draw attention to important or related information.
  • When communicating on the Web, do not try to tease the user. Do not try to build excitement as you lead up to your point.
  • To increase credibility and make people read more words, use balanced language, not over-the-top sales pitches.
  • Reconsider writing complex sentences, especially at the beginning of a paragraph.
  • Avoid leading with a subordinate clause, especially in a sentence at the beginning of a paragraph.

If you want to read more, you can buy the full report at the Nielsen Norman Group website.

Adapted from:

Source: Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. Read more of her writing about writing at

Read 1179 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 August 2013 05:44

Serendipity Media, LLC • 535 Cascade West Pkwy • Grand Rapids • MI • 49546

Ph: 616.458.8371 • Fax: 616.458.8609 • Web: