TIPS ON WRITING FOR THE WEB

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I’ve recently seen a few websites that include long sections of text.

It’s a common error – and one that’s often compounded by presenting those long text sections as single blocks, with no easy way for a visitor to navigate their way through.

Make no mistake – long, dense sections of text are hard to read and, therefore, hard to understand.

The longer and more complex a text is, the greater the chance that errors will creep in, that people will stop reading and that your message will be lost.

ACT NOW

So how can you keep people engaged?

Focus on key points rather than trying to tell the whole story.

Aim to pique someone’s interest, not tell them every last thing about you and your business or organisation.

Go through your site and look at all the text passages. Are they brief and easy on the eye? Or are they long and hard to read?

If the latter, then think of how their readability can be improved.

  • Can a long section be broken into paragraphs?
  • Can sentences be shortened?
  • Or taken out?
  • Might readability be improved by introducing headings?
  • Or bullet points?

You’re not good with words? Then get someone who is to check what you’ve written.

And if you think you are good with words, the chances are that you’ll still benefit from someone else – who knows what they’re doing – taking a look at your copy.

CHECK OLD WORDS …

I’ve seen some ‘all new’ revamped sites that have very obviously used material from a previous incarnation. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but if a ‘new’ text repeats the same errors as the original, then something’s gone awry.

If you’re re-using content, take the opportunity to assess whether texts are still relevant. Look through them with a critical eye or, even better, get someone who has that critical eye to do it for you.

SPOTTING PROBLEMS

Whatever you do, don’t just hand over texts to whoever’s building your website and trust them to spot and sort out any errors. The vast majority won’t. It’s not what they do.

That said, any self-respecting website designer shouldn’t simply add lots of content to your site without questioning its value. Instead, they should offer advice on issues such as readability, layout and appearance.

THE DOODLYDOG DIFFERENCE

I’ve spent a lifetime working with words and am better than most at spotting problems, including grammar, punctuation, repetition, missing words, sentences that don’t make sense and poor layout.

I’ve also had significant experience of summarising complex legal and technical documents, so am usually unphased by dense texts and am quite adept at picking out key points.

If you’d like a critical eye cast over your website, feel free to get in touch.

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