Learning and Creating Great Pages on the Web

By: Jon Caldwell

Be specific with your topic when choosing your web headline because they will determine the interest of your audience. They are aware of what to expect right from the start. Avoid using words that may conjure an idea that is entirely different from what you wrote. Do researches about the topic before you begin writing about it so you will know who has written, and what was written about it. You may only be repeating the contents of another article. Mark interesting words and work around the idea, you may be able to develop a great article out of this.

When you write for the web, just write what you really want to say. Go directly to the idea you are presenting. Do not assume that you and the readers share the same wavelength that when you make analogies, they will be able to grasp your point. Web readers scan what they read and if they don't get your point the first time then they won't be interested to go further. Avoid making fun of other people because this will backfire on you, making you look bad. Making fun of yourself is a great comic relief but doing it to other people would appear like you're bad mouthing them.

Most Web users only glance over pages, they do not read word-for-word so to get their attention, design your document to stand out and be noticeable. Highlight as many items as you can: boldface rendering, colored backgrounds, and hyperlinks. Refrain from highlighting whole sentences as this diminishes the interest it generate, instead, highlight only the words that differentiate the paragraphs. Use bullets or numbered lists to draw attention to essential points. An inverted pyramid style would grab more attention than the regular format. Reading the conclusion would pick the interest of the reader to find out what led to it.

The preparation of content in writing for web sites uses a different approach from that used for print documents. When you write copy for the web, it should be something to grab the attention of the readers as well as getting positive results. Either you're trying to market a product/service or simply making your presence known in the internet community, it will take special skills and flair to be able to present a precise and perfect view of your concept. Most readers scan the contents and do not read the whole article and to be able to impart your message, the presentation should really be interesting and straight to the point.

Guidelines when revising body copy:

• Compose text as simple as possible - reading on screen is slower than on print so it is better to keep sentences short and plain. Highlighting the keywords gets the readers' attention because words seem to leap out of the page.

• Place significant messages before the fold - when placed above, it can be easily noticed upon loading of the web page and readers can decide whether the site is important to them or not.

• Respect people's time online - scanning is preferred to reading in-depth so make sure the copy specifically tells what is on offer and the actions to follow are arranged reasonably. Avoid making your readers guess the next step to take.

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