Fill in your outline with web-friendly content
As you start to write sentences and paragraphs to go under each heading, follow these best practices:
Get to the point! The less content you put on a page, the more likely it is that a user will pay attention to it. Why? Because there is less to compete for your visitor's attention. Bonus: the less content on a site, the less you have to maintain, fix, or update in future.
Use plain language
Keep your writing simple, direct, and conversational. This doesn’t dumb down your content; it actually makes you come across as more credible and transparent.
Address your audience directly, speaking to them and not about them. Instead of “All applicants should apply by October 1,” Write, “Apply by October 1.”
Use the active voice
In the active voice, the subject performs the action: “The students learned how to make delicious crème brulée from scratch.”
In the passive voice, the subject receives the action: “The students were taught how to make delicious crème brulée from scratch.”
Your writing will be more concise and lively if you stick to the active voice.
Choose short and simple words
Use everyday words. Instead of ‘approximately,’ write ‘about.’ Replace ‘assist’ with ‘help,’ and ‘attempt’ with try, and so on. Aim to write so that an English-language learner will be able to understand.
If you’re a UFV staff member, you “speak UFV.” It’s easy to forget that not everyone in your audience knows the difference between a major and a minor, or a degree and a diploma.
Try to stay away from insider language in your web content, and if you must include a term, take a moment to define it for your users.
Make it scannable
A wall of words will intimidate most web users. Instead, break up walls of words into easy-to-skim chunks by using:
- One idea per paragraph
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Bulleted lists
- White space
Write meaningful links
When you include a link for users, don’t use “click here,” or a simple “learn more.” Be descriptive and unique, so your users know exactly what will happen when they click the link. Keep the link long enough that it’s easy to tap on a mobile screen.
You’ll find more info about writing effective links on the Making your content accessible page and on the Optimizing for search engines page