Website Writing Guide
Before you begin to write for the Web
Structure the content
Headings are the writer’s template and the user’s road map.
Before beginning to write or re-write contents for the Web, organise it under headings that users will understand. Start with the most important thing to the reader, such as what they need to do or know, or the first steps to apply for something. Rarely will a user be more interested in the rationale for offering a particular program or initiative.
The wording of headings must be carefully chosen. Headings must:
- be easily understood by the intended audience
- indicate clearly what the relevant section or Web page is about
- avoid jargon or acronyms unless absolutely necessary
- not trivialise the work of the organisation.
The headings are an interface between an organisation and the target group. They must reflect both the aims and activities of the organisation and the needs and perceptions of the target group.
When writing a new Web page on an existing website, the page title and contents must be written to fit into the existing style and structure.
When forming the structure of a Web page or website, it is helpful for the writer to bring all headings together on one page. This forms the Web site map. Site maps give writers a complete overview of all the pages on a website and how they are linked. When developing a website from scratch the site map is the starting point for the writer. The site map is like the contents of a book, although with more components.
Many search engines take into account the headings on Web pages when ranking pages. If a page heading matches exactly the search term entered by the user, that page is likely to be ranked highly.
Break long pages that contain multiple headings into individual pages, each with its own heading. This increases the likelihood that each discrete section heading and page will be indexed by search engines. This also breaks the information into more easily digestible chunks.