Creating Effective Web Content
Creating Effective Web Content avatar

Writing Web content is easy right?  Actually, one of the most common challenges people face when creating or updating their website is the written content. Here are some tips to help with crafting effective written content for the Web.

Before you begin writing ask yourself:

  • Who will be visiting my site?
  • What is the likely purpose for the visit …what are visitors going to be looking for?
  • How can I make it easy for them to find the information they need?
  • What actions do I want visitors to take (such as filling out a contact form, or purchasing a product)?
  • What can I do to steer visitors in the right direction (toward contacting me or purchasing a product)?

People Don’t Read Websites

Most visitors will arrive at your website searching for answers or looking for information that will help them solve a problem quickly. They won’t want to spend time searching your site for information.  

No matter how well you have written the content, people will only scan or skim the pages. Well written content is important, however your site must be designed to allow people to find information quickly.

Scannable Format

Researchers have tracked the eye movement of people as they look at Web pages. They found that in most cases, eyes scan the page following an “F” pattern. People consistently start scanning horizontally across the top of the page, then down the left side of the page slightly before moving horizontally again. Their eyes then move up and down the left side of the page creating the shape of an F.  For this reason, you will want to place your key information within this imaginary F.

Page Design

  • State your key point at the top of every page
  • Divide the content into small bite-size chunks and leave ample white space
  • Use headings and subheadings to catch your visitors’ attention
    • When creating a heading, state your key point clearly; summarize the content found in the section; ask a question that will be answered in the section; and/or use key search terms
  • Use bold or italic type to highlight the headings and key words in the text
    • reserve colour and underlining for links
  • Use top-quality graphics and images that complement the text
    • If the graphic/image is not self-explanatory remove it or add a caption
    • Only use clear images
    • Use an image transition or slideshow if you want to use several images

Caution: overuse of colours, fonts, bold, italics, flashing and/or blinking images will distract from your message. Studies have found that if something looks promotional it is often skipped.

Scannable Content


  • Use fonts that are easy to read
  • Use numbered and/or bulleted lists to highlight key points
  • Select a tone for your content
    • A casual and personal tone works better than a formal one

Paragraph Content

  • Ensure the paragraph content matches the heading
  • Summarize the page content in the first paragraph
  • Present only one idea per paragraph
  • State your key point in the first sentence
  • Keep paragraphs short and concise
    • Ask yourself what is this paragraph about?
    • What is in it for the reader?
    • Why is the information important?

Content Tips

  • Only use current information that will be useful to your visitors
  • Provide helpful content, rather than a sales pitch
    • Include facts
    • Avoid the overuse of adjectives
    • Avoid promotional language, bragging or exaggerated claims
  • Use clear, plain language
    • Avoid jargon, buzzwords and technical language
  • Use visual cues so you don’t need to state the obvious
    • For example, rather than writing “Click Here” for a link, simply use the descriptive text as the link – this will also help with Search Optimization
  • Include content that encourages the reader to take action

Note: If there are several people contributing content to a site, select one person to edit the material. This will help ensure a consistent style, tone and flow.

Long Pages

Although short pages with focused content is ideal, there may be times when you need to add long, detailed text.  If you have a lot of text, you can present a summary or introduction and include a “read more…” link to the details.

Reading on the screen is difficult, so if you have more than a few paragraphs some visitors may wish to print the page.  Consider adding a print button to make this easier for your clients/customers.

Some Things you Can’t Control

People will often arrive at your site on a page other than your Home page.  Therefore each page needs content that can stand alone because it may be the first and only page the visitor will read. It may also be necessary to repeat your key message using different content.  This is also a good reason to ensure your site is easy to navigate, because if it is, people will be more likely to explore.


Links are a great addition to your site because they will catch the reader’s eye and provide information that can complement your material. Internal links will move people around within your site.  External links, links to other sites, can add credibility to your content by connecting people with supporting information. It is also important to know that links will make it easier for search engines to index your site, resulting in improved search rank.

  • Check links often – you want to make sure links on your site work
  • Integrate links into your content in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow or distract the visitor
  • Have external links open in a new browser window so visitors can easily return to your site

Remove 50% of Your Content

It is recommended that the information on your website represent only 50% of the material you would use if you were writing for print. When you are designing content, think of it as writing text for a billboard or a magazine ad, rather than writing content for a brochure.

Once you have written your content take some time to edit before posting it to the site.  Review your material with the goal of removing any unnecessary words and details.

For More Information

If you would like assistance with writing effective content for the Web, visit our Management Solutions page to learn more about our technical writing and content development services.  You can also contact us at: .