Five Tips on Writing for the Web

G U E S T  A R T I C L E

The web is a unique and rapidly evolving medium that presents writers with particular challenges. To meet overarching communications goals, writers must apply the techniques best suited to the medium. While I enjoy my fair share of playful, artful and thoughtful online content, for this post, I’ll be mercenary and focus on promotional sites – the ones likely to pay for writing.

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Write to be found. People go online in search of relevant content; when they find an interesting webpage, they explore the site further or click on the hotlinks. The best way to make content easy to find is to cater to search-engine criteria: pepper your text with relevant words and phrases, and make sure that webpages feature meaningful meta tags.

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Write for the scanning eye. Reading print and visiting a website are radically different experiences. We tend to read print from left to right and from top to bottom. Online, our eyes flit about the screen, taking in information and pausing on appealing bits. Write in short blocks of text, and use meaningful headlines and sub-headers.

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Write to connect immediately. Most users decide whether to stay on the page in a second or two – long before they read more than a few words. To hold attention, a page must clearly identify the information it contains. A webpage’s prominent text block must feature a header and opening sentence that instantly reassure visitors they’re in the right place.

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Link writing and design. Websites are more likely to succeed when all elements – writing, design, links – support and accentuate key messages in a seamless and complementary manner. When a design is done well, it becomes invisible and inspires users to focus on – and hopefully become captivated by – content. Writers should work closely with designers and programmers on web projects.

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Write to pique curiosity. Encourage users to navigate deeper into a website and to return often for additional content. This is precisely how blogs create communities of like-minded individuals. To create content that appeals to your target audience, you must first fully understand their interests. Spend as much time researching your target audience as you do researching topics.

The article was originally published on October 30, 2018 Featured in: Linkedin

About the author:


Writing, strategic communications, editing and video production

Peter McKinnon is an Ottawa-based writer, with an interest in strategic communications and visual storytelling. He has produced hundreds of videos for broadcast, web and corporate audiences. Check out his website at or see his Linked In profile at


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