“Writing Right for the Web”

I’m going to do two or three posts on the College & University Public Relations Association (CUPRAP) spring conference, so I’ll keep them shorter than usual.

Bob Johnson of Bob Johnson Consulting, gave two sessions which were the conference highlights for me.  Here are some notes from , “Writing Right for the Web: Engage Your Visitors and Improve Your Search Engine Visibility.”

Bob compared  “Web friendly writing” to  direct mail marketing copy. 

Short sentences of 5-10 words.  Lot of punch.  Short graphs—50 words or less.

Use sub-heads with active words, not labels.

Use bullet points.

It’s essential that the reader can scan the page quickly.  On the Web, people are impatient.

Web readers scan for “care” words or words people care about.  A couple examples  are “advance your career” and “best school possible.”

While a Website can be seen as a series of magazines (admissions, PR, alumni), it’s an absolute no-no to just plop the alumni magazine article in as a PDF.  It needs to be slightly re-written, broken up with subheads and links, and reformatted using the above rules.

The Web, Bob said, is an informal place in which you need to be as personal as possible.  Use “you” often.

Black text on a white background is best.  Sans serif is easier to read quickly .  Verdana and Arial are in right now. 

Words in the title bar should have the same keywords as the news headline.

It’s all, he said, Reality marketing.

Bob listed the BBC  and National Geographic  sites as examples of good writing, layout, tagging, etc. (Visit these at your own risk. I visited NG to copy the url and didn’t come back here for a half hour).

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been reading Bob Johnson’s blog for awhile and was happy to be at one of his presentations.  He has a lot of knowledge, which he presents in a down-to-earth, logical manner.  His power point, handouts and the fact that I recorded the sessions on my Zoom H2, helped a lot.

Note:  “Personal” was the key word of nearly all the presenters.  I guess we all know this by now.  You have to be personal and genuine if you want to attract and hold a Web audience. 



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