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Writing Right for the Web According to Bob Johnson

I recently attended the ‘Writing Right for the Web’ online seminar conducted by Bob Johnson, PhD, of Bob Johnson Consulting.

Bob had some really good suggestions for anyone who is responsible for writing content for a website or blog. Here are some of the highlights from Bob’s presentation:

Web Readers Are Impatient

Web Readers are scan readers meaning that if they can’t figure out what your website is about or find the info. they are looking for within 5 seconds, they leave your website.

Here is what you can do to make it easier for people to find/read your web content:

  • Use short headlines
  • Write short paragraphs
  • Break up text with small images, bullets and large sub-heads
  • Add hyperlinks to content to provide more info. to readers
  • Use ‘care’ words (words users care about) as opposed to industry jargon or vague words.

Sample Care Words

Bob provided survey results from an MBA program website.

Words people cared about

  • Advance
  • Balancing
  • Career Advancement

Words people didn’t care about

  • Accessible faculty
  • Experience of faculty
  • Corportate Sponshorship

Bob recommended adopting a direct marketing style to writing for the web – The direct marketing style helps people scan and connect

  • Break away from PDFs designed for print and make the content directly viewable on the web as much as possible
  • Be brief
  • Be clear
  • Be compelling & persuasive

Sage Advice

  • Put the Care Words where they are obvious, use them in the title, in  subheadings and in the body of the text to help google and other search engines understand that these are the important words to index.
  • Repeat the call to action in more than one place on the website
  • BLOGS:  Blogs done well tell real stories by real people and are told by the
    people, which creates the powerful connection not obvious on most web pages.
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