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Lesson 3.1 Writing for Websites

Welcome to section three lesson one.

Let’s get started with an overview of section three. In this section we will be focusing on writing for the web. The lessons in this section will explain how to write for the different formats available to online readers such as websites, blogs, microblogs and wikis.

So let’s get started with the first lesson. In this lesson we will be focusing on how to write for websites. as rule of thumb you should be aware that online readers have short attention spans and you as the writer have to grab and hold their attention.

people tend to scan webpages in blocks of information. after all they are here for answers and are only interested in relevant information. don’t expect them to read every word that only happens when reading for leisure.

Remember just because you have unlimited amount of space does not mean you need to fill it all up. readers will lose interest as soon as your writing becomes unfocused. so remain on point and stick to your message.

The thing to understand is that most of our reading and writing takes place in an electronic medium. Whether its on our laptops or mobile devices we spend most of our time reading digital text. Therefore you as a technical writer need to be familiar with this new way of doing things.

For example if you are writing for a pre-existing webiste you may need to seek out the web-master to get guidelines on text size, use of graphics etc. However if you are building a website from scratch you have much more freedom as you can choose the site’s aesthetic style.

Also be aware of the website’s structure. these are usually described in a site map. a web page with links to all other areas of the website. from here you will come to know which one is the home page or where individual pages are contained.

Once you have understood the structure of the website it is time to focus on the structure of your webpage. typically it will have an opening and a body. an opening can be thought of as an introduction where you where you identify the subject. next in the body you will go into more details and present the subject. normally webpages do not have a conclusion as it is an informal setting.

some good guidelines to follow is to have short sentences and paragraphs. any links you provide should be suitably labeled. again have a balanced webpage, related information should be grouped together. above all else remain consistent, don’t use another color scheme, font, writing style on a different webpage all of your pages should have a similiar look and feel.

recall the saying “a picture speaks a thousand words”, this just means images are a great way to convey complex information. as webpages are well suited to deliver this type of content do make use of them. just be familiar with any technical requirements such as dimensions and file size that you will need to meet.

So that’s it. We have come to the end of this lesson. To summarize we learnt How to write for websites. See you in the next lesson.

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