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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How Is Writing For The Web Different? - My Write Sites

OK. I give up. In other blog posts, I've contended that writing for the Web is not that different from effective writing in other formats: in print, for example.

I've contended that effective writing in all formats needs to grab the attention of the reader quickly. I advocate use of the inverted pyramid style of writing, long used by journalists. It begins with the most interesting or important points of a document or article -- and then adds more detail in the rest of the document or article.

I've contended that effective writing uses informative headings, subheads and bullets to simplify reading and help the reader find the main points.

I've contended that useful and easy-to-read graphics can make written text more effective for readers.

Blogger Marilyn also makes those points in this article -- about writing for the Web.

So what I'm I'm giving up, so to speak? I'm giving up the "which came first" argument. More and more people (most people?) are getting more and more (most?) of their information these days from the Web. That's a fact I can't deny.

And the methods that Marilyn and I emphasize above are just as essential on the Web as they are in other formats.

Whatever people are reading, they don't often have time these days to wade through a lot of gray matter (words only) -- trying to find the key stuff. For the Web -- and for everything else we write! -- we must get to the point quickly. And we must aid readers with headings, bullets and informative, appealing graphics, including photographs and other artwork.

These practices are also among the principles of writing in plain language -- a philosophy that's been advocated for decades in business, law, health care, education and other fields. Fore more information on plain language, visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes seven steps on how to write clearly to meet the needs of your readers--and your needs too!

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