First and foremost, as you develop your content, remember that people skim-read.
- Keep sentences short, typically 15-20 words per sentence
- Avoid slang
- Use "you" (second person)
- Use active voice
- Chunk your text and vary the lengths of paragraphs; as a rule of thumb paragraphs should be 65 to 100 words
- Avoid italics. Italics are impossible to read on many screens
- Do not use ALL CAPS. THEY ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO READ. Instead, mixing caps with lower case is much easier on the eye and more familiar
- Go easy on capitals in general. Using Words That Are Capitalized Makes Them Seem Overly Significant
- Don't underline words unless they are links. Never underline for emphasis
- Bold text only for emphasis. Never put chunks of text in bold
- Use bullet points. Keep the list short and snappy. A bulleted list works best with five to seven items. If it goes on too long, the reader forgets what is at the top.
- Do not use phrases such as "Coming soon" or "Under construction" in lieu of content. If content is not ready, wait until it is ready before putting the page on your site. This will reduce user or customer irritation and alienation.
Don’t forget keywords, title tags and images.
Keywords. Make the most of every opportunity to insert a keyword. Instead of Read more, Click here, etc., add a specific keyword. (Search engines give more weight to linked text than to nonlinked text.) Examples: Read more about allergy testing, Click here for patient testimonials.
Headings. Headings should also incorporate keywords. Never use graphics as headings. Search engines and accessibility aids cannot read images.
Subheadings. Break up content by using subheadings. They draw the reader’s eye down the page.
Title Tags. Title tags are to be completed for each page. Each title tag should be unique and based on the page's content.
Alt Text. Every image (photos, graphics, etc.) needs alternate text to describe the image. Remember to provide a concise description of the image using the field provided in the content management system. Search engines and accessibility aids cannot read images, only text.