To communicate effectively online, always strive to write as clearly and concisely as possible. Remember that website users only read 20-28% of copy on the page. Tips for creating copy that is easy to scan include:
- Put the most important information “above the fold” of the page
- Break up large “walls” of text into chunks of copy with multiple headlines
- Avoid duplicate information on a page, even when you are saying the same thing in two different ways
Use plain language and active voice.
Use a less formal/more conversational tone for the web. Help users quickly digest the page’s content with the following approach:
- Use a 10th grade reading level. Tools for checking readability include Microsoft Word’s built-in tool and a Readability Test Tool
- Avoid jargon. If introducing internal language, provide context and/or define its meaning in the copy or via link
Get to the point, fast!
While there is certainly a place for flowery or expositional writing, the purpose of the website is primarily to inform. The more quickly this is achieved, the better the user’s experience. Follow these guidelines for length of content:
- Sentence: no more than 15-20 words
- Paragraph: 40-70 words; can be as little as two sentences
- Page: 300-700 total word count
- Headings: should not exceed 8-10 words