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Writing for the Website


Some tips to sharpen your webpage text – making sure, when your viewer enters your Mount page, they are given a tool with information that is quick and easy to find.

1. Your online content is written informally, broken into small paragraphs, non-linear, interactive, dynamic and current.

2. When re-packaging written content, re-think how it can be rewritten, laid out and designed. Make sure it is appealing for your average online user.

3. Break up your text into smaller blocks containing full thoughts…think in blocks or chunks of information instead of longer paragraphs with many ideas.

4. Write strong headlines, subheads, cut-lines and labels.  Internet readers have a "search-and-retrieve" mentality . They prefer to scan for the information or keywords they need, often bypassing the rest.

  • Use bullet points, numbering, indentation, white or blank space and some bold lettering for emphasis.
  • Use theory of the INVERTED PYRAMID…Your most important thought is your  title or headline, then work details out from there.
  • Grab your reader with the simple W’s; Who – What – Where – When – Why

5. Using links in your text is an easy way to give your page depth. Think of your page as a web-tool.  For links, highlight words associated with the link instead of using the long URL.

6. Avoid posting PDF’s – often readers get lost in its text and important information is too time-consuming to find.

7. Think "presentation" and "interaction.”  How am I presenting this information and is it easy to use?

8.  Know your audience. Ask yourself, “Who is reading this and Who do I want to read this?”

9. Consider online reading as easy and light reading.

10. Remember: if no one reads it, what value will it have?

Tips for writing web pages:
1.     It’s like a conversation
2.     It answers people’s questions
3.     It lets people “grab and go”

As you write:
1.      Picture the people you’re writing to – know your audience
2.      What would they ask me?
3.       Reply as if you were on the phone

Guidelines:

  • Use “you”
  • Show you are a person, the Mount is about real people
  • Write in the active voice
  • Short, simple, straightforward sentences
  • Cut unnecessary words
  • Link to extra information
  • Keep paragraphs short
  • The web is about action
  • Put the action in the verbs not the nouns

In Summary:

  • Think about who’s reading your page
  • Picture them as you write
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Write mainly in the active voice, for example 

    a.      The customer must fill out the form

    b.       Instead of:  the form must be filled out by the customer

First things first – upper left – Think “F”
1.      F – it’s read in an F-shaped pattern
2.      F- for fast – in a few seconds
3.      F –reading is in in a horizontal movement
4.      F- Use the upper left part of the content (the top bar of the “F”
5.      F-  Move down and across - users move down the page then across in the second horizontal movement but shorter, or the small bar on the “F
6.     F – finally users scan vertically or the stem of the “F”

Know where to put your info:
1.     Important content should be in the upper left
2.      Readers skim, they don’t read word-for-word
3.      Put the most important information in first two paragraphs
4.      Start subheads, paragraphs and bullet points with information-carrying words

Looking Good:
1.     Use photos of real people
2.     Stock photos are ignored
3.     Users spend < 10% viewing portrait photos
4.     Users read bios
5.     Offer an engaging experience, meet their needs
6.      Images should carry information not just decorate

How Web Users use the web:
1.     80 % concentrate on info above the fold
2.     Long pages are trouble – only 20% go and only IF the info is engaging
3.     Limited attention spans – just a few seconds
4.     Get to the Point

Horizontal vs. Vertical:
1.      69% use time on the left half of page
2.      30% on the right side of the page
3.      Don’t force users to read a wide page
4.      The navigation is based on research/usability studies
5.      Don’t deviate from the plan

Numero Uno or Number 1?
1.     Use “23” instead of “twenty-three”
2.     Users scan text to catch facts
3.     Numerals stop the wandering eye
4.     Most skip words, not numerals
5.     Example: 2,000,000 better than two million
6.     Two trillion better than 2,000,000,000,000
7.     Digits boost credibility, usability
8.     Your facts stand out visually using numerals
9.     Users pick out headlines
10.   They see highlighted, bulleted lists and links

Your Page:
1.     It’s your face to the world
2.     Sell it
3.     Use a tag-line if you have one:  The Mount Means Business
4.     Give them what they want
5.     Link to more info

In summary: 

  • Content upper left gets the most intense viewing
  • Put important info there
  • Readers take two minutes or less
  • Make your point above the fold
  • Bite sized pieces of info on lower page
  • Layout encourages scanning
  • Put a nice morsel at the very bottom
 
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