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3.2 Writing for the Web

Web content should be clear and concise, minimizing unnecessary words. This applies whether you're creating headings, body text, or link text. Web visitors scan, they don't read word for word. They are searching for specific terms, so try to use them in your content.

Before you start writing, plan the content strategy for your site.

General Writing Tips

  • Use a voice and tone that is appropriate for your audience
  • Organize content for scanning
    • Group content under short, meaningful headings.
    • Use short paragraphs – only one idea per paragraph.
    • Use white space.
  • Check your reading level - the average American reads at an 8th grade reading level.  Write in basic language, avoid jargon, technical terms and long, scholarly words as much as you can. Go to The Readability Test Tool and enter your webpage address to measure your text's readability.
  • Use the "inverted pyramid" technique - most important content at the top, least important at the bottom.
  • Be concise, write short paragraphs and minimize unnecessary words.
  • Write in active voice. Use active verbs.
  • Some don'ts:
    • Do not write in ALL CAPS. If you want to emphasize a word or phrase, use the bold or italic option. When a screen reader reads a word that is written in all-caps without the proper style applied to it, it will read each letter individually. For example, "CAT" would be read as C-A-T.
    • Do not use underlines on any content. Underlined content is reserved for hyperlinked text.
    • Do not use double or triple spaces after periods. There should only be one space after the period at the end of a sentence

Want to Learn More?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of resources for writing on the web; some are good and some are not so good. If you want to learn more, search the web for - 'writing for the web' and discover a multitude of ways to improve and enhance web content. Aligned Path is a great resource for information regarding Higher Ed websites. One of our favorite articles is Landing Pages for Higher Ed Websites.

Writing Headlines

  • Headings are important because they grab the reader's attention.
  • Headings also show the structure of the page, allow for easy scanning and aid in search engine placement.
  • Choose a word or phrase from the paragraphs that will make the reader want to keep reading.

Writing Link Text

  • Do not use 'click here'
  • Use a brief and descriptive phrase that describes what the link offers.
  • Identify the document type if not linking to an HTML page.

Bad example: The webteam is creating a web style guide, click here.

Good example: The web team is creating a web style guide.

Word Count Rules of Thumb

To limit your word count when writing for the web, use these general rules:

  • Headings: 8-10 words or less
  • Sentences: 15-20 words
  • Paragraphs: 40-70 words
  • Pages: 500 words or less

Use of Copyrighted Content on UNG Website

Web content owners and coordinators are responsible for ensuring that all content on their website is free of copyright issues. If copyrighted content is used, the web content owners and coordinators must have written permission to use the content on the web.

  • Don't pull an image, document or any web content off an external website and submit it via ServiceNow without written permission to do so. Keep copies of the written permission.
  • When photographing individuals or groups of recognizable individuals, get written permission to use the photos on the web. Use the University Relations Model Release form.

Visit the UNG Libraries Copyright Center webpage and the U.S. Copyright Office website for more information.

Do People Really Check Copyrights?

Yes, they do -- yes, they have.

ANY content you use from another person or entity, even if attributed to them, can be a potential copyright infringement. Be sure to get permission (and keep a copy) to use any outside text, images or media on your web pages or uploaded documents.

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

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