Website Writing Guide
Preparing the content
Imparting your message
Not everyone responds well to slabs of text on a Web page. When preparing content for the Web, writers need to consider the most appropriate format for imparting their message.
This should be influenced by:
- the nature of the information being imparted - eg sales figures, the rationale for saving water, the process for applying for a permit or for selecting a financial product
- the aim or intention - eg teach, make aware, educate, influence, train, entertain
- the characteristics of the intended audiences - eg their level of education, existing knowledge of the product or service, where they are accessing the website, whether they are time-poor
- the time available to develop the content – eg a video or tutorial may be desirable but you don’t have the time to produce it
- available resources and budget – eg presenting an animation online requires Web programming and graphic design skills, appropriate software and the money to pay for it all.
The method of presenting the content also needs to take into account the fact that not everyone learns or absorbs information at the same rate. Many people find some content easier to understand when it is presented as an image or in a diagram, chart or table.
The choice of formats for imparting content range from simple forms such as sentences and paragraphs, through to more sophisticated forms such as videos and animations. The more sophisticated forms are usually more time-consuming and expensive to prepare. However, the benefit-to-cost ratio may be far more favourable than for any other form.
Here are the main content formats by which to impart your message - in approximate order of ease and cost to prepare, starting with the easiest and cheapest:
- sentences and paragraphs
- lists – bullets, numbered
- step-by-step instructions
- frequently asked questions
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