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Writing web content

Everyone who writes content on behalf of ECU needs to be on the same page. We should write with the same voice and understand the importance of tone.

This way, the university comes across as having a consistent voice and therefore becomes a more trustworthy and familiar brand.

This section will help you write for your particular audience, including striking the right tone, laying out pages, and ensuring your content is accessible to everyone online.

What is good web writing?

It’s easy to spot good web writing because:

  • it’s feels like a conversation
  • it answers your questions
  • it lets you ‘grab and go’

Keep these principles in mind when you’re preparing your web content. That way your readers will easily find what they need – and better understand what they find.

Your visitors don’t read, they scan

This might come as a surprise, but your web pages aren’t documents and your audience isn’t reading!

If you plan to use an existing document as a web page you’ll need to rethink it for your web readers (unless the document or PDF would be better as a download from a web page).

This is because your visitors are scanning, not reading. Their eyes pick up on:

  • headings and sub-headings
  • bullet point lists
  • underlined or coloured text links
  • images

Make your web pages easier to scan by including these elements, especially the first two.

The inverted pyramid

Another way to help web users who don’t have the patience to wade through paragraphs of information before getting to your key point is to use what’s called ‘the inverted pyramid’.

The inverted pyramid style is used by newspaper journalists. Start with the main point and work your way down to the less important information.

So put your main point in the first line or paragraph, with a short headline to match.

Download our real-life example involving some changes to the ECU Shops. It gets straight to the point about the subject and uses sub-headings to help people scan for what they’re most interested in, rather than having to read the whole thing.

Short is sweet

The other factor that helps people find what they’re looking for is concise content.

So keep your words, sentences and paragraphs as short as possible.

Write for your audience

It sounds obvious, but before you write your content, think about who your audience is.

Are they staff, students, alumni or members of the general public? And why should they care about what you have to say? What problem does your writing help solve? What value does it create, i.e. what’s in it for them?

Don’t assume your audience knows the subject matter you’re writing about either. You should:

Write like this: This sponsorship will provide Exercise Science students with valuable industry placement and research opportunities…

Not like this: ECU is proud to celebrate our new sponsorship. Help us mark the beginning of this partnership…

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