Before you start creating web content
Read this essential information before you start planning, writing, creating and editing content for the website.
This page is part of a series of guides. Please use this guide alongside the:
- Review and maintain your content page
- Web content style guide
- Making your content accessible guide
- Submitting a website publishing request guidance
- LJMU brand guidelines
Writing well for the web
Users read very differently online than on paper. They do not necessarily read from top to bottom or even word to word. World-leading research show that users only read about 20 to 28% of a webpage. See the ‘Readability’ section on the Making your content accessible webpage.
Start your writing with a page plan. This will help you understand many objectives, including:
- who you are targeting
- what their needs are
- how to address their needs
- sources of information
- appropriate media to accompany the text
Pages should inform and inspire. Language should be clear and accessible.
There are many contributors and editors on the LJMU website. It's important to be consistent in:
- tone of voice
The Web Content Community guidance helps us deliver a consistent and corporate website.
Read it aloud
Check your content for sense. Does it use natural language and flow well? Is it engaging?
Break up your content
Don't give users long passages of text to read. Break it up with smaller sentences and paragraphs.
Break up text with descriptive sub-headings. The text should still make sense with the sub-headings removed.
If you have a list, use bulleted lists.
If you have a list of instruction steps, use a numbered list.
Insert quotes or images with care. Only add quotes or images that bring value to the content on the page.
If you use an image, you must also add descriptions in the main body text or provide alternative text – see the 'Images' section in the Web content style guide.
Reduce your text
Edit and edit again, keep it to the point. You only have a short time to engage your reader. So:
- put the important information first
- keep it short
- keep it clear and concise
Headings and titles
You need to grab your audience, and your heading needs to be clear, concise, and descriptive. Use keywords in your headings because this will help the search engine find your content.
Headings are used by assistive technology to navigate a page. Use them to break up your content and provide a logical reading order in your page.
Active front-loaded headings engage the user quickest. For further guidance, see ‘Front loading technique’ in the Web content style guide.
To write accessible headings and titles, see ‘Headings’ and ‘Titles’ in the Web content style guide.
See ‘Keywords’ in the Web content style guide.
Use links within your text to point users to useful information, especially within our site. Keep links pertinent to the content, and always be aware that a link will take a user away from your page.
For further guidance, see ‘Links’ in the Web content style guide.
Ideally, every page should have a Call to Action (CTA) but try to limit these so that users know what to do next.
For further guidance, see ‘Call to Actions (CTA)’ in the Web content style guide.
Instructions are very precise, so give them careful consideration and:
- ask yourself, is it helpful?
- go through the activity yourself before you write about it
- check if the instructions are clear and accurate
- check if it makes sense without jargon
- test your written instructions thoroughly
- pay attention to the smallest detail
- ask someone else to test the instructions for you and ask for feedback