Writing for the Web

In an age of social media and headlines, many people seek some level of immediate gratification when looking for information or media. When scrolling through websites or sources from databases, users will scan through paragraphs of information instead of taking time to read everything in full. This new way of digesting knowledge requires creators to change how information is presented.

Here are a few tips on how to present your research on the web:

  • Condense your information: Visitors to your site do not necessarily want to read long paragraphs full of detailed analysis. Oftentimes, they are visiting your website in the hopes to either just browse or answer a few select questions. To condense information, try to separate your information into small paragraphs, offer multiple headings for what they may be looking for, add bulleted lists and block quotes, and avoid long drawn out sentences.
  • Write for a general audience: Remember that the internet isn’t just for academia, but rather a space open for everyone to learn. Avoid using complicated wording and jargon that the average high schooler would not be able to recognize. If you want your website to be used more frequently, do not make generalizations about your audience by assuming they know something that you know.
  • Layer information with media: Breaking up information with media helps to stop viewers from scanning pages to take in graphic and potentially read more. There’s a reason your high school teachers pushed putting pictures in your PowerPoint presentations and posters! Media and other digital tools makes everything seem more interesting and takes your website to the next level. If you wish to learn more about how to use media or digital tools to make your website more appealing, visit the Media and Tools tabs.

Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing

The inverted pyramid model is the best form of writing when creating a page on your website for specific research. This model suggests formatting your information to go from general to specific to avoid losing readers who know little about your subject. The inverted pyramid resembles how news articles are set up by offering the most important facts first (who, what, when, where) before explaining everything in further detail.

The following graphic helps to explain this style of writing with more of a focus on what information should appear where on a web page.