Now that you've written (and rewritten) and proofed what you've written, you want to structure your page so your points are formatted for the online environment. Remember, since it’s often more difficult to read on-screen, you have to take special care to make it easier for your readers to absorb your information.

Content and Style

  • Provide useful information
  • Most people use the web to find information that they can actually use. Make sure that your readers will find your information useful. This means useful for them... not just useful for you
  • Typically, the more specific, the more useful
  • General overview information is fine, and can be extremely helpful. But when people want to act on the information you provide don't just give them a hint, give them all the information they require in order to act, right at the top
  • If the reader can't figure it out immediately, chances are they'll go someplace else
  • It's best to do this at the top of the page, so people can see what they'll get without scrolling
  • People will scroll, but only if they think there's something of interest to them below
  • Make it personal and write conversationally
  • To make it more personal, your tone and writing style should be more casual, more conversational - Not only is this friendlier, but it's also easier to read.

Formatting

  • Always start with the headline—everyone reads them. Condense your most important point down to a one or two-line headline
  • Give 'em the gist of it in the opening paragraph. Distill longer documents down to their most important facts by creating a "summary" at the start of each article/post
  • Use ‘Subheads’ because readers skim headings looking for specific topics If you started by creating an outline, your outline headings will automatically become subheads.
  • Format headings as separate lines—or as a lead-in sentence to a paragraph. Bold text stands out. It's best to use it sparingly, such as for lead-in headings at the start of a paragraph. Bold words scattered inside the text can be confusing.
  • Use italics for emphasis – but not too often. Italics help your reader “hear” the same emphasis you intended. Italics can help make your text sound more conversational. For example, when you read the previous sentence, you emphasized the word "sound" because it was in italics. That can make a big difference in the meaning of what you write. While they can be overused, in general they help ensure that people read things the way you intended.
  • Here are the same words in the same sentence, but italics give each different meanings:
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
  • People read bulleted text. Condense important points to bulleted lists. Repeat your most important info using “call outs” or “pull quotes” - quotes set larger and often in a different typeface