How to write for the web.


A reader on the web is often...


  • Somebody who will NOT read your site,

but just browse through it, hovering the pages, scanning quickly for what could be of interest to him, bouncing from links to pictures, from title to title. Glancing at your site and thinking that he has understood the content from such a quick read. 

> A site is not a book. Labeling tabs, repeating certain things in different ways, big titles, short chapters, very clear pages, are good ways to adapt to this reality.


  • Somebody who is looking for information,

often in the hopes of making a decision.

> Your reader is a person who wants to understand what you have to share.


  • Somebody looking for satisfaction or distraction,

often both at the same time. The emotion conveyed by a site is part of the experience. 

> Depending on your field, bringing some fun, human qualities and general interest, is a good way to address your reader.

> But make sure you keep your site informative. Keep your site well organised. You want them to find what they look for quickly: it is the kind of satisfaction that brings you the best public.


Writing for the web is a big issue today.

Making your content simple is not that easy

Do some research and you will find many good recommendations about the need for 

 • particularly short phrases

 • Using simple language allows a faster reading experience and a higher level of comprehension and memorization. 

 • Clear and well-organised chapters allow the reader to take a more comfortable and more constructive decision in this ever repeating issue = read or click?.

Ok, it must be simple ... but how to choose the right words?

Once you have listed your reader's questions and the key expressions, you want to continuously keep in mind

  • the reader's expectations.

  • the language he understands rapidly, 

  • the vocabulary you would like him to learn on the way.

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Please, don't make the mistake of writing your site for Google. 

Think about your reader and his needs and his language more than about Google and search results. Seriously. Use your keywords when it is relevant, but understand that search engines (and of course readers) will understand when they are relevant. None of them just look for a high density of keywords. Don't be afraid of using synonyms in the same context. 

Repeating the same words over and over won't help your site.


The oil change: a practical example of context and communication in everyday life. 


Let's imagine, 

you are driving in town and discover you need an oil change. 
You will look for signs with the words "oil change" and preferably with "a price".  A "duration" will also be welcome.

You will visually scan the street for these keywords, excluding anything else. In order for a shop to be found, it is essential that they use the keywords you are looking for. 
> This is the language the reader expects.


At the shop,
A mechanic comes to help you. A good mechanic speaks with words that the driver understands. But it is also time to explain the importance of the choice of oil quality, A new vocabulary appears, more specialized: "semi-synthetic, synthetic" perhaps this new vocabulary is new to you but it is one you should know before you commit to having an oil change.  

> This is the language the reader is learning.


But imagine this 
You arrive at the garage and the mechanic greets you and asks you if you would like to "replace your viscous cooling and lubricating fluid" you might think he was a bit strange but hesitantly agree. But then he asks "what pressure-viscosity-degradation coefficient is suitable to your internal combustion engine?" 

At this point you would likely leave the shop, even if this complex definition is actually just a fancy term - and maybe technically more exact - for "oil change."

> Using this complex (but technically true) definition is a failure to the garage.


To know and use the language of the reader is important. Knowing when and how to propose a new word or a new concept is too.


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Time to write. The next step will help you to make it clear and easy for you and your reader with one simple rule: 1 subject = 1 page.