Writing content for the web is different from writing for print.
How users read on the web is different from how they read other media. When writing for the web, we should ask: what does the user want to know or do? Content should always be easy to read, precise and allow the user to scan the page quickly for the information they are looking for. Poorly written content can frustrate a user and confuse or obstruct them from successfully completing their task unaided.
Aim to only write content which is:
- clear and to the point
- important for a customer to complete their task
Confusing jargon, terminology and even abbreviations can lead to a customer contacting us through other channels for help.
Great web content uses:
- short sentences
- simple vocabulary
Plain English is a writing style which focuses on producing clear, transparent content, free of unnecessary jargon, technical terminology, or confusing words. Using every day words in short, clear sentences is the fastest route to making a user understand what you are trying to communicate, as well as give them what they need.
When considering Plain English content:
- stop and think before you start writing
- prefer short words
- use everyday English whenever possible
- keep your sentence length down to an average of 15 to 20 words
- use active verbs as much as possible
- imagine you are talking to your reader
- and always check that your writing is clear, helpful, human and polite
- be concise
Search engine optimisation
Search engines (such as Google) are where most users start when looking for information on our website. Our content must make it easy for users to find out what they're looking for using search.
To ensure that each page is easy for users to find:
- use meaningful titles for web pages that make sense to user needs
- use plain English
- add keyword terms that users would use to describe services (such as bins, rubbish, litter, waste)
- use the same vocabulary as our users in the page title, summary and first paragraph and headings, so that users are more likely to find it.
- use friendly URLs where appropriate to make pages easier to find
- use tools such as Google Trends to compare alternative keywords and compare trends, the words you use to describe your content may not be the words your users use to try and find it.