10 Tips to Improve Writing for Your Website

While writing for web have its own specifics many of the traditional rules apply. (Photo by Tyler Nienhouse.)

While writing for web have its own specifics many of the traditional rules apply. (Photo by Tyler Nienhouse.)

For anyone, writing content for his or her website is one of the most problematic things to do because we have very different writing skills and we tend to be very perfectionist about it.

To help you get over this “perfectionist obsession” here are couple of tips that will make your content writing better and will serve you as a guideline on what to do, what to avoid and be aware of.

1. Short sentences and paragraphs

People are more scanning than reading on the Internet, so it is important to give them manageable chucks instead of long blocks of text. After all you want to keep them reading.

The best thing to keep them interested is to use short sentences and paragraphs. Leave anything you don’t really need to say out. Paragraphs should be no more than 5 lines long unless there is a good reason for it.

Side effect of all this is having lots of white space within your copy. White space makes it way easier to read on a screen than you would ever notice on paper.

2. Bulleted (or numbered) lists for highlights

Bulleted or numbered lists are one of the best ways to keep people interested because they will see you are giving them what they want in a concise way.

Use lists over splitting multiple facts with comas within a long sentence. Lists are easier on eyes and they are clearer. This will keep your readers moving through the article. And if they want to go back to something important later, it is much easier to find it in a list than in a block of text.

3. Spelling: Canadian vs American English

Always keep in mind for which audience you are writing. If your business is located in Canada but wants to attract more Americans than Canadians then your spelling should reflect that. It is easy to get confused.

For example, a simple words such as “colour” or “favour” need to be spelled “color” and “favor” for the American audience. Canadians don’t mind reading both but if you are serious about your business professional image then this should keep your primary audience happy.

4. Use lots of headlines

Just like with paragraphs, sections of articles on the web are also shorter than in newspapers. So use lots of headlines to break up your article into more “digestible” pieces.

However, this does not mean each paragraph will have a new headline. Only keep in mind that if a person scans an article versus reads it whether they will get some idea of what the article is about. Therefore, they can decide whether they should read the whole thing.

5. Use links to reference other pages

One of great ways to keep people on your website and help them navigate it is to use links within your copy to move them from page to page.

For example, if you write:”If you have more questions about this package please contact us.”, then you would make the words “contact us” a link to your contact page.

6. Only one space after a period

Always put one space after a period, not two or none. People have different habits when it comes to an end of a sentence but the correct way is to use one space after a period.

7. It’s and Its

This is a common mistake committed on the web by even the most professional writers. It may come from trying to write fast but at some instances people simply don’t know the difference.

It’s – is short for “it is”, so you can say “it’s your car” instead of “it is your car”.

Its – communicates possession. “Its cover is plastic” is correct as opposed to “it’s cover is plastic”.

8. There, Their (Your), They’re (You’re)

There – references the whereabouts. “I got there on time” or “my car is parked over there”.

Their (Your) – like “its” this term communicates possession. “Their hands were cold”.

They’re (You’re) – is short for “they are”, so you could use it as “…no wonder they’re late”.

9. Than and Then

This is one of the most made mistakes in writing besides regular spelling mistakes. The misuse of these words can make a sentence to loose meaning and make you look illiterate.

Than – is a quantitative term used for comparison. “I am taller than you” is correct while “I am taller then you” is not.

Then – references point in time, so you could say “He came home and then called you.”

And here is a sentence when you would use both terms:”Once he is better than him then he will get more opportunities.”

10. Overuse of bold and italic for highlighting

You should use bold or italics for highlighting important things, however, an over use of these within an article will result in nothing more than annoying your reading.

Reserve them only for few instances and you will make a greater impact when you really want it.

Happy writing

The above tips give you good guidelines on how to write for your website or even on how to write in general.

Always make sure to keep in mind who your audience is. This will make it easier to form your thoughts and target the right reader.