Web Copy Guidelines

Numerous usability studies have shown that people read a web site differently than they read a print publication. When reading a Web site, a person scans the page looking for specific information so a succinct writing style is most effective. Always keep in mind the reader, not the writer, determines the sequence that's followed.

1. Think like the end-user. Make it easy for a person to find the information they are looking for.

2. Keep the reader in mind as the copy is written. Write in a tone and style the reader can relate to.

3. Use a journalistic writing style. Keep the language simple, direct. Eliminate unnecessary words and complex sentence structures.

4. Remember the end goal. The purpose of a web site is to entice the user to take a specific action. The page design, copy and navigational tools all work together to persuade the user to continue clicking.

5. Maintain a one-on-one conversation. Use second person 'you' so the reader connects with the copy.

6. Tell user what's in it for them. Copy should be written to explain the benefits to the reader, not simply to say what products the company sells.

7. Prioritize information. Make sure the most important thoughts are at the top of the page.

8. Break up large chunks of information. Use subheads and bulleted lists to make it easier for the reader to scan the page.

9. Develop a specific style guide for each site. Decide what words will be capitalized and be consistent throughout the site.

10. Incorporate keywords to maximize SEO efforts.

-To your online success!

Paul Bliss