Writing for the web Linda Magee, Australian Consumers Association www.choice.com.au
Reading • People don’t read, they scan • Reading from a monitor is 25% slower • 30% less comprehension • 78% of eye fixations drawn to text, 22% to graphics • Typically hunt for info and ignore details
Writing • Cut the fluff – be clear and concise • Info is shorter and chunked • There is no sequence • Inverse pyramid • Bullet points/lists • More conversational tone – one to one • Info through visuals – tables, graphs, pics
Writing cont. • No cryptic headings • Words have to work harder • Short sentences - 15 words • Use questions • Active voice • New thought, new para • Hooks – top ten, most emailed, expert tips, quotes
From this… There are a number of important steps you need to take before commencing your business. This site provides information that you can read on-line or down-load that will assist you to start your business. To this… Before you start your business there’s some important steps you need to take. Here’s some information that’ll help – read it online, or download it to read later. Plain English/tone
What’s scannable? • Blurbs • Headings and subheadings • Bulleted/numbered lists, or steps • Large type • Short words • Simple sentences – full stop is your friend • Short paras • TOCs • Captions • Graphics
Never use a long word when a short one will do • Select Choose • Locate Find • Assist Help • Demonstrate Show • Utilise Use • To ensure that So that • Is best placed to Can • You can find information on Find out
Personalise • What do they want to find out, not what do you want to say • Show personality – own your site • ‘You’, ‘we/us’, ‘your’ • Apostrophes – there’s, you’re, isn’t, can’t, you’ve, you’d
Cereals for kids • The cereals aimed at kids, as well as the popular staples of rice bubbles/pops and cornflakes, don’t fare too well. • All the kids’ cereals except one have too much sugar and/or too little fibre to be recommended for every day. The exception SANITARIUM Honey Weets: a moderate source of fibre and not too high in sugar. It’s worth giving this one a try if you’re having no luck with wheat biscuits or porridge, for instance. • Kids need less fibre than adults because it can make a small stomach full before it’s had a chance to get enough energy and other nutrients. Too much can also cause children to get stomach upsets and diarrhoea. As for sugar, 10 out of the 20 kids’ cereals have three or more teaspoons in a serve; another seven have two or more (see the table for details). • About the best that can be said of most kids’ cereals is that they’re better than no breakfast at all, and the vitamins and minerals as well as calcium from the milk are a bonus. • Apart from cereals for kids, most brands of cornflakes and rice bubbles are low in fibre and high in salt — not the best choice as anyone’s staple.
ACA’s go-live checklist • Do page titles make sense? • Is page layout clean and simple? • Are paras too long? • Is there appropriate X marketing? • Does the page stand alone? • Date on every page? • Quality graphics?
cont • Quality graphics? • Appropriate metatags? • Does the intro work hard? • Are there hooks into the report? • Is there some rich content/interactivity?