Web writing, what is it?
The fundamentals of web writing
First of all, web writing is not just an editorial practice. Writing for the web media is above all trying to maximize the return on investment of editorial devices: return on attention, effort and content. More specifically, we do not write for the web, but for curious readers, sophisticated users, prospects and demanding customers. The role of web writing is to effectively meet their needs with a content strategy . It is about thinking and producing service content , with high potential: attractive, useful, effective, sustainable.
Another fundamental element of web writing: its supports and its channels influence the behavior of reading and assimilation of contents. The risks of disorientation and cognitive overload are numerous, and are obstacles to the accessibility of online information. Web-based writing is therefore also an ergonomic and modeled way of organizing text and hypertext on the screen, intended for the reader-user.
Finally, web writing is also an optimization work for SEO, good visibility of content and research experience. Like users, search engines and indexing tools reward good information architecture. From its ideation stage, web writing mobilizes particular structural strategies: choice of relevant expressions and keywords, semantic enrichment, markup of information units, etc.
Journalism and web writing: the legacy of good practice
Web writing and traditional journalistic writing have goals and promises in common: to attract, inform, educate. They share production techniques and writing codes, among the main ones:
- respect the law of proximity
- tell a story
- illustrate his remarks
- prioritize information
- master the art of titling
- gain precision and conciseness
In form and substance, the legacy of these good practices still makes it possible to build a text that makes sense and resonates in the minds of readers. Timeless and indispensable to web writing, these writing techniques work as tools to help with transmission, understanding and adherence.
The inverted pyramid, right to the goal
Web writing involves always going from the general to the particular, from the essential to the accessory to immediately attract the attention of the reader. This is the principle of the inverted pyramid: we hierarchies the messages (pyramid) and we give priority to the most revealing, the conclusion in sum (inverted).
Why? Logically, the reader adheres faster to the information at the top of the screen, above the fold of the page. Pressed and searcher, he then scans more than he reads, with points of attachment to the look at each beginning of the unit of information: the first words of a title, the first paragraph of a text, etc.
Thus the technique of the inverted pyramid is applied to all formats and content levels: micro-content and call contents, body text, pages and sub-pages, navigation, etc. Either to the entire ecosystem of a device or a website.
Web writing in questions: the 5W technique
Like the inverted pyramid, the 5W rule in web writing makes it possible to respect the logical prism through which the human mind perceives information. Understand, in English: Who (Who), What (What), When (When), Where (Where), Why (Why). Let 5 questions in 5W to answer the fairer and faster the needs of the reader. We can also add the Comment to these rules of questioning, and decline the acronyms in French (QQQOPC).
As a modular approach, the 5W technique allows you to organize and prioritize messages, while isolating units of content that require special editorial processing. One thus makes sure to go around the subject, in the right order, and following the shortest path.
Hypertextuality and interaction of the written word
The hypertext is the essence of the Web, media of interactivity, and he deeply identifies online writing techniques. Taking into account space and display constraints, it assumes an important role of interfacing with the reader-user and ensures the good accessibility of the digital content.
In web writing, hypertext processing allows immediate access to key information and supports a non-linear use of information: internal and external meshes, incentives to action, navigation course, etc. While multiplying the entry points in the content and the possible reading and action paths , the hypertext makes it possible to integrate all the interactive digital devices within a coherent whole where each element contributes its meaning to the ‘together.
Web writing, who practices it?
Web writing is a transversal communication discipline and a strategic competency of the first order. Because of its marketing implications, it concerns a large number of sectors and trades:
- web reporter
- digital advertiser
- marketing director
- responsible brand content
- external communication officer
- Community Manager
- e-commerce shop manager
In short, any producer or manager of content intended to be published online is directly concerned by the techniques and good practices of web writing.
Web writing, how does it work?
The delicate art of brevity
To be concise does not mean, necessarily, to be short. In web writing, brevity refers more to a principle of economy: means, words, effects. To be economical means to write with measure, to avoid the useless. It is a compact and muscular writing:
- An incisive syntax: short sentences, succinct turns, the historical present, the active voice.
- A clear language: universal and familiar words, controlled vocabulary without jargon, explicit expressions.
- A concrete discourse: a pragmatic style, tangible arguments, a limited use of parasitic words like certain adverbs.
- a precise statement : a qualified speech, a value-added speech, meaningless and relevant messages.
Hierarchy and organization
The 5W method and the inverted pyramid principle make it possible to structure a text, and to hierarchies the different arguments and messages. Other structuring models exist, such as the AIDA course: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. These four pillars of web writing allow organizing a text sequentially and in order of importance of the messages, respecting the decisional path of its targets. Objective: write to make a click, encourage a progressive adherence to his speech.
Chunking, a fair breakdown of information
Proceed to chunking or cutting content is fundamental to the web. On the screen even more than on paper, it is important to provide breathing zones on the page. It is therefore a matter of processing the information in packets, in constituent units of meaning. But also to ensure their good ventilation on the support: in paragraphs and sections of fair density, that is to say, to arrange them with a good ratio between visible information and available space.
Concretely in web writing, it is a question of fragmenting the contents and to vary their typology and their volumetric to create an editorial balance .
Interactive writing: place to action
Web writing is also practicing the art of persuasion by adopting interactive writing. That is to say, a writing that pushes its reader-user to take action. To engage its targets further in the purchase or membership decision, it is therefore necessary to be able to communicate messages with high conversational potential. Traditionally, through incentives to action -oriented function, gratification, problem solving, identification or emotion. We invite unequivocally to enrich the user experience, and with clearly identified objectives.