Web Writing Tips
What Do You Want to Accomplish?
Before you start writing, make sure you have a clear understanding of the purpose and goals for your pages.
Do you want:
- A site that makes prospective students want to stick around and find out what your program/degrees/school is all about?
- To communicate that Liberty is a thriving school with an engaging mission?
- To be enticing to prospective students?
- Web pages that are current and effective?
These are all great goals, and you can help accomplish them by writing compelling content that follows an inviting web style.
Create Engaging Web Content
- Use shorter sentences.
- Bring active verbs forward like: “gain, join, discover, find out, get, etc.”
- Highlight benefits over features
- Stay conversational. Speak like your readers are right in front of you.
- Sprinkle in some contractions. Stray a bit from formal grammar, so your content doesn’t appear stuffy.
Identify Your Audience
Honing in on your target audience will help give you the strategic direction you need for effective content. Find out who they are and then write for them.
Remember this about your readers:
- They are real people
- Some understand “scholarly lingo” some do not
- They found you online, so stay true to a web-friendly writing style
- Talk to them – not about them
- Tell them what they can do – not what students can do
Think About the Journey
When users come to your page, they have a mission in mind. Help them get to their end goal as swiftly as possible. A confused and frustrated user does not stick around long, and your job is to make the path a clear one for them.
Rework Your Current Content
All of us need help to update our text so that it matches the Liberty Voice and Tone Guidelines and current web style. Here are some good examples taken from various academic websites of “before” and “after” copy:
Don’t say this:
It is critical that future leaders are able to research effectively, analyze with precision, write clearly, and speak persuasively. The development of proficient communication skills is the focus at our school.
At our school, you’ll develop solid communication skills that will benefit your future career.
Learn how to:
- Research effectively
- Analyze with precision
- Write clearly
- Speak persuasively
(Staying “you-focused,” this rework speaks directly to the reader, showing how they can benefit. It also separates the long list with bullets, making the page scannable.)
Don’t say this:
Our Department of Computer Engineering provides a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares students for the engineering and computing industry. Computer engineering programs are not easy, but the rewards can be outstanding.
Confidently pursue a career in the engineering and computing industry. A degree from our Department of Computer Engineering will give you a rigorous, high-quality education that’s both challenging and rewarding.
(Here, we begin with a short sentence that has a personal call to action. We end by telling the reader what they will gain through a degree from the program.)
Don’t say this:
The master’s degree in law is a challenging program that grounds students in the primary legal contexts so they can better understand the laws that affect their chosen career.
Get grounded in the foundational legal contexts with a Master of Arts in Law from our school. Increase your understanding of the law and how it can affect careers outside of the legal profession.
(Starting with an action verb that addresses the reader, this rework sticks to a web-friendly writing style that highlights the degree’s benefits.)