A Brief Guide to Writing for the Web


heat mapDetermine your primary audience. How does audience affect your writing?

Determine their purpose in visiting your site.

  • Locate information (What are the admissions requirements?)
  • Interact (Facebook)
  • Complete a task (download the form I need)

People scan web pages rather than read them.

  • F-pattern scanning
  • Basic areas of a web page (web lingo) – Header, Footer, Body, Main navigation, Secondary navigation
  • Expect certain conventions (logo will take them to the homepage, contact information in the footer)

General Guidelines for Web Writing

  • Headers and subheaders
    • Main idea of content in about 7 words or less
  • Short paragraphs
    • 1 idea per paragraph
    • 2-4 sentences per paragraph
  • Bulleted list
  • Simple active sentences
    • Passive: The following classes were offered.
    • Active: We offer the following classes.
  • Add visual interest
    • Images
    • Pull quotes & side bars
  • Follow Wentworth’s standards
    • Wentworth or Wentworth Institute of Technology (not WIT)
    • The Institute (not The College or The University)
    • Serial commas are preferred (use a comma before the conjunction)
  • Check your work
    • Use built in spell check and grammar check
    • Have someone else read your work
    • It looks different when it is displayed on the web, so it is a great opportunity to look it over it again.

Additional Resources

  • Wentworth Style Guide, Visual Identity Guide, and Logos are all available on Lconnect under the Employee Resources tab.
  • Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (http://www.bartleby.com/141/)

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