Why You Must Write Differently for the Web
Electronic readers are in a hurry to find information, so we web writers need to follow a few rules to help them out.
These 4 rules are simple to remember if you keep one idea in mind: Make Reading Easy
Subheads Make Scanning Easy
Most web readers want to know, “Is this article worth my time?” so they scan before they dig in. If you don’t normally do this, try it and see how much easier the bold subheads make it to get the gist of the article.
When you write in bold case and use title case (Like This Title Here!) you help readers by making it easier to be excited about the article’s content. There is a greater chance they will dig in if they see something they like.
In a way, your subheads become an outline that helps the reader know what to expect from the piece.
Short Paragraphs Help Tired Eyes Take it Easy
More and more, we do our web reading on small mobile devices. This makes reading tough. One big help is to make super short paragraphs of two or three lines or less.
This advice may not match up with what your fifth grade teacher taught you, but trust me. It makes a big difference when the text chucks are small. People are much more likely to read something if they think they won’t lose their place.
If you have any doubt about this idea, just look at this page on a smartphone. Your eyes will be glad to see the short paragraphs and the space around them.
Spacing Out Your Elements Helps
Good web designers use “white space” to help elements breath and feel balanced. If you are not great at this, ask your designer friends for advice.
If you can’t find your designer friends, just keep your info chunks separated so they are distinct and more easy to tell one form the other.
Give Readers an Easy Out
What happens when you get to the end of an article? You want to go somewhere else, right? If you provide a link at the end of your article, you give your reader an easy, good place to go. Plus, you have a better chance of getting your reader to see more of your stuff!
For example, if you want to learn more about how to get readers to engage with your content, check out Ways Your Website Should Engage Readers
- Subheads help readers scan.
- Short paragraphs help readers stay focused.
- Links to more content help web readers know where to go next.