Writing for the Web

Like other forms of writing, writing for the web comes with its own unique best practices and considerations that are specific to the medium. A necessary prerequisite for writing excellent content is establishing clear goals for your website and understanding your users. For additional practice and resources, use your GU NetID to check out LinkedIn Learning’s Learning to Write for the Web course.

Keep it short

In general, it’s best to have short pages (300-700 words), short paragraphs, and short sentences.

There are exceptions to this rule — FAQ pages are a good example. If you find that a page is getting long, consider

  • Adding anchor links. Anchor Links allow users to navigate to content within a page. For example, you may want to include anchor links on a FAQ page so users can navigate directly to specific questions without having to scroll through all of them.
  • Expandable content. With expandable content, a one-line header appears and, when clicked, expands to reveal more content — usually text.

…but not too short

A page should have, at the very least, one paragraph of content. If it took more time to load the page than it took to read it, consider putting the content elsewhere on the site and deleting the page.

Front-load the important information

Use the journalism model of the “inverted pyramid.” Start with the most important content, and then provide additional details. Assume your reader might not stick with you to the end.

Keep content fresh

The key advantage of web over print is that webpages allow for instant edits. Take advantage of that feature by updating regularly and keeping information up-to-date.

Make sure older content is clearly labeled as such. For example, new stories could be in an “Announcements” section. Photo galleries, working papers, and speaker lists from previous conferences could be in a “Past Events” section.