How to write for the web

ALPHA. This guidance is provided as a general starting point for anyone designing online content, or working on digital projects that involve designing new content or reworking old content. It is a work in progress, and we welcome feedback and suggestions to improve the advice. Contact us with your feedback.

Writing for the web involves thinking about:

  • the purpose of the page and the user’s goal
  • how people read and process information in an online environment
  • how search engines and machines, like screen readers, read online content
  • the user’s reading ability, the device they may be using, their computer literacy and their familiarity with your subject.

The information we’ve collated here provides guidelines to help you tailor your writing style so it is clear and user focused.

  • Content structure — how you break the information up to leverage what we know about how people read information online.
  • Plain language — things to be mindful of when crafting your words, and tips to help you keep the language focused and clear.
  • Search engine optimisation — how to use keywords in page content and metadata to help search engines prioritise your pages.
  • Writing link text — maximise the value of your linking text.
  • Content quality checklist — a list to help you make sure you have covered all the requirements before you publish your page.
  • Writing tools and resources — a selection of links to online resources and further reading on these topics, and some templates.

Accessibility

There are also detailed guidelines on how to write accessible content, covered in a different area of the toolkit.
Web accessibility for content editors