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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Writing for the Web

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Guide to writing content for the web

Training session 1 materials:

We need to write content in a way that is quickly and easily digested by our website visitors.

Our primary goal: write content that is easy to scan.

Attention span: Website visitors have a short attention span and want to find answers to their specific questions very quickly without a lot of reading.
Book vs. Notecards: create information chunks instead of long or complex descriptions.

How do we write content for scanners?

Questions to consider when crafting or reviewing content:

  1. What keywords are most relevant?
    • What 3-5 words would site visitors use to search for this content?
    • Am I using these keywords in headings?
  2. Can I use fewer words to say the same thing?
    • Have I eliminated all adjectives and adverbs?
    • Am I using mostly simple sentences?
    • Can I simplify my sentences?
  3. Can I use simpler words?
    • Am I using jargon or technical terms?
    • Am I using clichés?
    • Is there a simpler version of a word?
  4. Am I being redundant?
  5. Do my paragraphs consist of 3 sentences or less?
  6. Are my sections short and clearly labeled with headings?
    • Do my headings use a parallel structure?
    • Do my sections consist of 3 paragraphs or less?
    • Do my headings provide strong context?
  7. Am I using lists when possible?