Writing Style Guide

Content is key on your web site.A writing style guide will help inform how content is developed for a web site.

Clients will gladly exchange time for value and insight, so provide relevant, valuable, and usable content.You want to draw your reader in, help reader orient and convey information.People use the web to solve problems, and they expect the site to be worth the time it takes to find out if you can help.

 

Style Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines when composing your content:

  • Refer to the company in the first person
  • Refer to the reader in the second person
  • Use direct, simple sentences
  • Divide the text into easy-to-read chunks
  • Factual and content-rich information
  • Main themes at top of each page
  • Lists as bulleted items not prose
  • Clear section titles, liberally use headings (help user find info)
  • Avoid ambiguity
  • Use straight quotes
  • "Web site" is two words

The most important thing to remember is:

Be concise, use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs.Short sentences: average 12 words. Short paragraphs: average three sentences (36 words long)

Why is Content So Important?

Your web site is geared towards your clients so create client focused content. Write your content to help people navigate the site: make steps clear, state what options are available. Focus on what the client wants first and then tell them about your qualifications.

  • Avoid jargon and buzzwords.
  • Make your pages load quickly and avoid gimmicks.Flash introductions and pop-up windows waste your visitor's time.
  • Make it easy, visitors should be able to navigate your site and locate information easily.
  • Most people scan, so make the pages easy to read.
  • Keep content current, At a minimum, refresh content once a month.
  • Your site should convey your visual identity.The content, appearance, and usability of your site reflects your style and shows your competence as a professional.Show them how you treat clients.Demonstrate how your company makes a difference to the client.Tell your story, describe your mission, list your clients, and educate.
  • Communicate with personality.Use your site to give visitors a glimpse of the personality and culture of your practice.

How to Check Reading Level

If you want to check the reading level of a document, you can do that using the spelling and grammar checker in Microsoft Word (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/test-your-document-s-readability-HP010148506.aspx). You can also configure the Advanced Search settings (http://www.google.com/advanced_search) in Google to show the reading level for documents in the search results.

Just to let you know, this page was last updated Saturday, Feb 17 18