“How to Write for the Web”: Summary

Summary of Dudley Storey, “How to Write for the Web: Murder Your Darlings.”

Cull cleverness from written sentences. Most visitors read less than 20% of web page content. Users scan web page text for useful or interesting information.

  • Write concisely.
  • Have an effective print stylesheet.
  • Write backwards.
  • Use “news style” when writing, dividing your page content into “chunks.”
  • Record each of these “chunks” in a Content Management System (CMS).
  • Try to keep 60–70 characters per line.
  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Insert ordered and unordered lists.
  • Highlight key words and concepts.
  • Link to relevant resources.
  • Don’t use directional writing, such as, “see the map to the left.”
  • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Target your sentences to the reader’s literacy level.
  • Define acronyms by using the tag or use them sparingly.
  • Use images to retain interest.
  • Avoid “marketing-speak.”
  • Use mixed case, not UPPERCASE for more than a few words on a page.
  • Write as if you have only six exclamation points to use in your entire life.
  • Place a “call to action” in the text.
  • Keep the text on the page updated and include an indication of when the page was last changed.