Web-Writing Tips for Students

Print this handout for your students to refer to while they are creating web pages.
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Updated on: January 17, 2001

Strategies for Student Web Writers

Web-Writing Tips for Students

  • Write to your audience
    Who will come to your website? If the site is for kids, imagine speaking to a friend as you write. If you're writing an article for parents or teachers, imagine speaking to an adult you know as you write.

  • Remember that Web readers like to keep moving
    Web readers are "browsers." They like to keep their eyes moving as they read, so use the following strategies to catch your readers' attention, help them scan for a specific topic, and let them interact with the text:
    • Use headings and subheadings that are interesting and informative.
    • Include sidebars that contain interesting tidbits of information.
    • List facts in crisp bullet points instead of long paragraphs.
    • Embed hotlinks, or highlighted words, in your text that readers can click on to learn more about a particular topic.

  • Know your main message
    Before you start an article ask yourself, "What's the one thing I want to say?" Answer that question in one sentence and you've got your main message. Everything else you write should help get that message across.

  • Remember the three Cs – Concise, Concise, Concise
    Many Web readers instantly reject text that looks too long or too hard to read. So package your text in short, two- to three-sentence paragraphs that say, "I'm a breeze to read."

  • Be friendly
    Use you, we, I and other pronouns. Use don't, we'll, I've and other contractions.

  • Use all the tricks you learned in writing classes
    • Use action verbs, strong nouns, and snappy adjectives.
    • Vary the sentence length.
    • Use topic sentences and transition words (and, but, then, etc.).
    • Tell it like a story.

  • Be consistent
    If you write website one place, don't write Web site someplace else. You can make up some of your own spelling and writing rules – as long as you stick to them.

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