Use of Language

To attract people to your web page and get your message across, remember these key points:

  • People don’t read web pages – they glance over them for information that grabs their attention
  • Your pages have to be ‘find-able’ for people even to glance over them

Grab attention

When you’re writing for the website, think of a pyramid: start with the most important information first.

Your opening paragraph should contain all the key points you want people to take away from the page e.g how you can be of use to people and what you want them to do. People could miss the point if you don’t point it out.

Keep background information for the paragraphs that follow.

Key points pyramid

Keep it simple

  • Web pages need to be as concise as possible
  • Use short, direct and clear sentences
  • Write assuming that people know little/nothing about your topic
  • Get rid of jargon. Business and formal phrases can confuse or turn people away; writing in language that most people use will also make your page more ‘find-able’

For example:

  • People are more likely to do an on-line search for ‘jobs’ than for ‘vacancies’ so using ‘jobs’ in your text would make it more likely they’d come across your page
  • Don’t write: “‘If there are any points on which you require explanation or further details we shall be glad to provide such additional information as may be required by telephone.’
  • Do write: ‘If you have any questions, please call.’

Be concise

  • Remove all watering down words: words like hopefully, relatively, maybe and perhaps only dilute what you are saying
  • Use ‘you’ and ‘we’
  • Use the direct tense rather than passive eg ‘we will send you information’ rather than ‘information will be sent to you’

Make it easy to read

  • Include sub headings as it makes text easier to scan
  • Another way for readers to scan pages is to make links part of the text: they stand out from normal text and provide visual clues.

Be professional

  • Always do a spelling and grammar check. Mistakes make a bad impression and can cause confusion.
  • After doing a spell-check, always check your ‘readability stats’, available at the end of your spell check. Aim for at least 70%.

Call to action

Each page should have a call to action telling people where to go next e.g. to answer a consultation or find out more about your service.

Useful websites