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Tips for Writing for the WSO Website


1. Keep the audience in mind.

You are writing for people visiting the website. Write for them. What will be most relevant? How can you make the experience enjoyable and easy to navigate?

2. Put most compelling information first

Web readers have short attention spans. They will decide whether our site has the information they need in seconds. Structure your context like an upside-down pyramid or cone. The most important messages go at the top. Then, gradually drill down to the more specific, supporting information

3. Keep sentences concise and write in an “active voice”

Sentences should be 35 words or fewer. Focus on using nouns and verbs. Use adverbs and adjectives sparingly. Use the most straight-forward words.

Information should be written in the third person.

  • Don’t: I love WSO.
  • Do: The Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) is an exciting organization with history going back over 50 years.

Make text scannable

In addition to putting the most important information up top, make sure text is easy to skim. Most web readers will scan the page to find the specific piece of information they’re looking for. If they don’t find it easily, they’ll move on.

Instead of text-heavy paragraphs, use bulleted or numerical lists. Instead of one long page of text, organize content into labeled tabs.

Always include “white space.” This is the empty space that surrounds paragraphs, images, and other elements on your web page. Though it may seem like this is just wasted space, it’s actually a web designer’s best friend. Comfortable amounts of white space around text make it more legible, and more enjoyable to read.

Incorporate multimedia (photos)

As we artists know, most of the human brain is visual, and people process visual information many times faster than text.

An easy-to-read graph or chart can do a better job of explaining a complex topic than text alone. If you’re not a graphic designer by trade, there are lots of ways to use visuals on our website, and sites like Canva and Piktochart to help make graphics.

Images also help break up text, making the page easier to read. Have at least one image on every page.

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