Write for the web 8 tips to write for the user

Write for the web: 8 tips to write for the user

When writing for the web this means that our text will be read across a screen. However, this interface induces very particular and different constraints of the paper reading:

  • Longer reading time
  • Less fluid reading
  • Less reading comfort
  • A more difficult understanding

Web editors must, therefore, adapt their writing to these specificities in order to capture the interest of Internet users. Here are a few tips to help you achieve this goal.

1- Take into account the specificities of reading on the screen

In web writing, it is important to keep in mind that between your text and the reader is a screen.

The ways to read a text on a screen are different compared to reading in a magazine, so you have to adapt.

An eye-tracking study led by Jakob Nielsen is used to define important reading areas on the screen. It is therefore essential to consider these strategic areas to include important information or the links on which you want to direct the user.

Reading behaviors on the web is completely different from reading on paper. The user is a reader with his own characteristics, often less attentive, he seeks accurate and targeted information.

Here are some ways to help you better understand about the behavior of readers on the web, and allow you to adapt your web writing.

These hot areas are located mainly on the left of the screen, and we see that the user sweeps the web page from left to right by forming an F.
These are the strategic locations on the screen, to give priority to highlight important elements of your content.

Even if the scroll is no longer a brake to the user, used to scroller on social networks, in particular, hot spots are usually located at the waterline. So remember to include the important information and call-to-action at this level, and the relevance of your content will urge the reader to want to scroll down to find out more.

Adapt your content to all screens

Web browsing is also performed on different media devices with different screen sizes:

Tablets
Smartphones
Computers

To make your content readable regardless of the terminal device used by the reader, it is essential to adopt a responsive design for your site. The display of your web page will fit the screen size and will maintain a good quality of reading. It is also important to consider the smaller size of mobile screens, so sentences and short paragraphs will be easier to read rather than a dense pad that will discourage the reader.

When writing your content, it is, therefore, necessary to take into account all these specificities in order to strategically position the information in the right places on your page.

2 – The Internet user is an impatient reader

And yes, generally the user is an impatient reader who scans the screen more than he reads its content. In fact, only 10 to 20% of Internet users read an entire article on the web.

The challenge is to capture the attention of the user to make him want to read your content. Now that you know the hot areas of reading on the screen, take the opportunity to put relevant and impactful information in these strategic places.

The user gives only a little time to read, he wants to quickly access the information he seeks. You can, therefore, facilitate his reading by highlighting the key information on your page, in bold for example.

Also, take care of the paragraphs’ titles so that the reader can see the elements present in each of them and can organize his reading according to his needs.

You will understand with the web reader, the length of an article is not a guarantee of success. This reader seeks above all relevant information, concise that provides him a real added value, he favors the quality of content.

3 – How to improve your web’s reading rate

How to improve your web's reading rate

In web writing, one of the secrets to capturing the attention of your reader from the first lines is to adopt a text structure in an inverted pyramid.

The principle is simple, it is to write your text starting with the most important information and then go into the details and secondary information.
This writing principle allows you to hook the reader quickly by delivering the information he was seeking, and by encouraging them to further to learn more about the subject.
This technique completely corresponds to the behavior of the readers on the web, who expect concise texts that go straight to the point.

To avoid anything, this reverse pyramid structure allows you to back up your most important keywords at the top of the page, where they are most visible for search engines.

The technique of the inverted pyramid is the golden rule in web copywriting. Let’s go back to the basic principles of this method.

The basics of the technique of the inverted pyramid,

let’s take a quick step backward: remember, at school, we were taught well for our essays to respect the following plan: introduction, development, and conclusion. In journalism and web copywriting, it’s just the opposite: we directly announced the conclusion (= the essential message) from the first lines. In other words, the main information must be condensed in the title and Cap (or “Chapo”).

To support the ideas in the different paragraphs, it will always be based on this principle: the web editor should highlight the key ideas in the headings and develop them in the first lines of each part of the text. Developing 1 idea per paragraph, being captured by subheadings.

likewise, keywords, which reflect the subject and topic, must appear at the beginning of the text in the title in this case (“title”), in the introductory part and in the first lines of the article. The inverted pyramid is therefore at the heart of a web copywriting techniques.

The rule of the inverted pyramid: Interests and benefits

Let’s now make a brief comparison web press/clipboard. With magazines and traditional newspapers, the reader enjoys a comfortable reading: well wedged in his sofa, he takes the time to read, flip through the pages of his favorite mag, browse through the texts and images.
On the Internet, it is rather fishing for information, as the information ‘overflows’, so is the competition between news sites, both the information goes quickly, always faster.

Why am I doing this aside? Because this is the whole point of articles written with the technique of the inverted pyramid. The reader in a hurry and ultra solicited from the outset at the heart of the information. And to be even more effective, the inverted pyramid rule must go hand in hand with quality writing: simple words, short sentences, a well-structured article, and soon.

The essential thing to remember about the inverted pyramid technique:

The reverse pyramid technique offers many advantages. Mainly, this method allows to hold the reader’s attention and satisfy him in his search for information.
Furthermore, a well-written text with the keywords and relevant information at the beginning of the text makes it possible to better reference the page.
Also, following the reverse pyramid rule allows you not only to be read but also to be better referenced.

It is also important to prioritize the readability of your content. This may sound basic, but a bad-chosen font or a size of character too small and uncomfortable to read can slow down the end user as soon as he landed on your page. Structuring your text is also good readability, avoid too dense texts that will again drive away your readers.

Also, you could select a fluid writing style and easy to read with short sentences.

Use clear vocabulary and do not knock out your readers with too technical vocabulary that they will have difficulty understanding, except for a professional audience.

The web reader enjoys a concise and direct style that goes to the basics.

4 – A clear structure

In order to facilitate the user’s reading, it is important to set up a clear text structure, with easily identifiable paragraphs and titles, which will help make the reading more comfortable.

In addition to structured text, an airy layout is also preferred to improve reading comfort but also encourage the user to read your text.

It is especially important to avoid the impression of a very dense text, which will seem difficult for the user to read.

5 – Make the information standout

red umbrella stand out

In copywriting, it is essential to highlight some points on your web page, in order to facilitate the reading of the user but also to bring it quickly to the key information of your content.
In fact, on a web page, the user scans the content more than he reads, so do not hesitate to highlight key phrases in your text by visual elements, for example by putting them in bold. This will attract his attention and make him want to read the rest.

6 – Go straight to the point

Clarity is one of the keywords of web writing, so keep it in mind when writing for your website or blog.

Get to the point

A concise text with a simple vocabulary will facilitate again the reading to the user. This will maintain his attention without losing it in the middle of a sentence too complex.

Short sentences and paragraphs, with only one information explained at a time, are therefore recommended.

You also pay attention to the length of the text, a long text may discourage the reader even before he has started to read it.

7 – Provide additional information to the reader

Unlike paper, web writing allows you to provide additional information to the reader through the addition of links to your content.

It is therefore advisable to use these internal and/or external links to provide additional information relevant to the reader, for example:

  • The explanation of a notion mentioned in an article
  • Support a cited statistic in a text
  • To discover a complementary product in a product description

In addition to providing additional and useful information to the reader, this practice is also indicated for your SEO optimization, so you kill two birds with one stone.

8 – The importance of illustration

cornea illustration

Inserting images within your web content also allows you to lighten your text, to bring the comfort of reading and to facilitate the understanding of the reader by illustrating the points discussed.

As the saying goes sometimes “a picture is worth a thousand words”, this can also be applied to web writing, yet we must select them well.

It is essential to pay attention to the choice of images, they must be in correlation with the content and provide a value added in terms of quality.

Conversely, a poorly chosen image might draw the quality of your content (article, product…) down.

You will understand, when writing for the web you must first and foremost think about the user and organize your content to ensure optimal readability and thus turn it into a player.

If you need assistance with your web writing, you can ask our web editors who will produce content for your site that guarantees quality legibility for your users.

You also have us share your tips and tricks in web writing, by leaving a small comment at the bottom of this article.

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