How to write for the web

Most users don’t read online; they scan. That means web content should be short, scannable, and to the point.

Best practices for scannable web content

  • Paragraphs should be 1-3 sentences
  • Use plenty of headings (h1, h2, h3...) and lists to make it easier for your users to scan
  • Use short sentences (25 words or less)
  • Write in simple language, aiming for a Grade 6-8 Flesch-Kincaid reading level (check your content using the Hemingway app or using Microsoft Word)
  • Avoid jargon when writing for a general audience
  • Write as if you’re sitting across the desk from your user
  • Read it out loud. Does it sound natural?

Learn how to choose the best content for your website and how to format it.

Content as conversation

Every use of your site is a conversation started by your visitor.

Site visitors are focused on what they came for. They'll probably don’t care about your mission statement. Just tell them what they need to know.

Put the focus on the reader, not you. Be informal and conversational – use "you" and "your" rather than "we" and "us."

Write in the active voice (we will customize the experiment for your class) rather than the passive (the experiment will be customized for your class).

Calls to action

What do you want visitors to do after they’ve read the information? Sometimes you need to tell them!

Try to add a call to action like "contact us for more information" or "apply now" on each page. Giving your visitor something to respond to keeps the conversation going.

Learn more by attending a writing for the web workshop. (That was a call to action.)

Representing the UVic Edge

The UVic Edge comes from the powerful fusion of three ingredients:

  1. Dynamic learning that creates a natural advantage for our students: research-inspired teaching integrated with hands-on experiences to accelerate personal growth and career success.
  2. Vital impact that drives our sense of purpose: as an internationally renowned teaching and research hub we tackle essential issues that matter—to people, places and the planet.
  3. Our extraordinary academic environment that inspires new ways of thinking and bold action: discovery, creativity and innovation come naturally here, in a vibrant Pacific Rim community rich with Indigenous and international perspectives.

The UVic Edge—dynamic learning and vital impact in Canada's most extraordinary environment for discovery and innovation. Visit the Brand Guidelines site for tips on the Edge story and voice.