Tips for online writing

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If your job requires you to tackle some online writing, here are two tips to help:

1. Reading versus scanning                                                                                                            

When you are writing for the web, one of the first things to think about is that your readers are not really readers. They are scanners. Because the eye reacts badly to reading text on a computer screen and because the online experience fosters impatience, users tend not to read streams of text. Instead, they scan. As a web writer, you have to write for scanners.
It is critically important to focus on headlines, keep paragraphs short and highlight keywords, phrases, and sentences. You need to make the important bits stand out.

2. Think about "you"

Using "you" and "your" will make your writing more inviting. And more personal.
You can convey serious and important messages - even legal rules and notices - using "you". In fact, people are much more likely to take in those messages because they can see themselves in the text.
On the web, it's also good to show that you are a person and that your organisation includes people. 
The more you do to make your visitors feel that you are in conversation with them on all your web pages, the more comfortable most people feel.

There are numerous other practical tips for online writing presented in the Action Words one-day workshop "Web writing that works". For an outline of the workshop, please email us: vikki@actionwords.com.au