writing content for the web

Online Web Editing Course

MeLissa will be teaching a web-editing course through The Christian Pen. Learn the basics of editing web sites, HTML coding, and much more!


Writing Web Content That Works!

What makes writing for the web different than writing for print?


Read this article to find out!


Writing Content for the Web

By MeLissa Houdmann, freelance writer/editor specializing in Internet content


Welcome to the world of writing content for the web!


Take a stroll around the Internet and you will find that most of the information you see has been republished from a print publication. Is this effective? Do people read the web like they read a newspaper or book? Several studies have shown that most people do not read web sites, they scan them. If the reader does not immediately find what he is looking for, he leaves and finds a different site. That is why it is important to know how to write web content that works!


Here are some pointers for writing Internet content that will stimulate action and make your site a success:


  • Target your audience. The demographics of the Internet are extremely varied. However, your site or article may be tailored to a specific type of person. Focus on that person for the entire article.


  • Get into your content quickly with a catchy first paragraph. If this is the only paragraph the reader will look at, what do you want that person to know? Establish credibility quickly! You have to catch the reader’s attention within a few seconds or he will leave.


  • Highlight important information. Bullets are very helpful in writing for the Internet. If your content is long, divide the content into sections and include informative headlines. The article should be written in a way that is easy to scan.


  • Have a distinct purpose – Do you want the reader to purchase something, join your mailing list, or contact you? Get to the point quickly.


  • Stay upbeat in tone. Reading your article should be fun! If a reader is not enjoying it, he can find another site with only a few clicks of his mouse.


  • Be concise. Take the time to eliminate all unnecessary or difficult words. Web articles are generally 50% shorter than print articles.


  • Keep paragraphs short with one idea per paragraph. Use active verbs rather than passive ones.


  • Rarely use bold in regular text. Underlining can be confusing to the writer since underlining often indicates a hyperlink.


  • Most people like to read a personal story, so include illustrations or stories when appropriate.


         Include links to other articles when helpful. Refrain from saying “click here.” Instead, hyperlink actual phrases of your content.


  • A visitor can arrive at any page on your site from another site or search engine, so keep each page independent. The content on that page should stand alone.


  • Remember that you have a worldwide audience, so limit puns or other language that could be confusing to an international audience.


When you finish writing, look at the appearance of the article. Is it easy scan? Can you accurately summarize the article by looking at the main headings or bulleted points?


Give your article a very clear title. If you can add something that will grab a reader’s attention, even better! However, your first priority is clarity.



Copyright 2007-2011, MeLissa Houdmann, All rights reserved.