Sunday, May 31, 2009

Writing Copy for the Web - 1

Put more important content first (front-loading)
- Short and succinct
Remove any paragraphs, sentences and words that don't directly help get your point across. Can you find ways to say something in fewer words?
-Front-load everything
Front-loading also applies to paragraphs and sentences. Start paragraphs with the most relevant words, to work like a header to the paragraph.

Use headlines and headings
-attractive headline can make the difference between the page being read or ignored
-clear headings can help the readers easy to find what they want
-Use headings within a document to make it easy to scan the document's meaning

Consider the user's goal
-Be factual, not cryptic
Your tone of voice should be immediately appropriate to the audience, and their relationship with the site.
Don't be cryptic. Don't assume you have your audience's undivided attention. You probably don't. You really have to work to grab someone's attention online.
Being factual means avoiding starting with questions (e.g. "Have you ever found blah blah? Well, this is the thing for you!").

Establish trust
Real example
The following text came off a 'Contact me' page.
"Hello, and welcome to the contact page. It is on this page that you can email me via the form on the left, or you can use the means of contact below"
You could replace all that with:
a) A title somewhere saying "contact me"b) A title next to the email box saying "email me"

Use Active voice
Active voice is good, Passive voice is bad. This is because passive voice uses slightly more words than Active, and takes slightly more decoding.
"Upload new contact information on the contact us page"
is better than
"New contact information can be uploaded on the contact us page"

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