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Best Practices for LibGuides

When writing for the web, keep in mind that users scan for information. According to the Nielson Norman Group, users "read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely." Print is linear; the web is not. 

General Tips

  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Use a conversational style and tone
  • Use short paragraphs, simple sentences and exact words

Content

  • Add the most important content in the first paragraph
  • Apply the inverted pyramid structure when organizing information 
    • Content that requires scrolling vertically can lose up to 80% of readers. 
  • Chunk out content -- one topic per paragraph

Language

Create Scannable Text

  • Use headings (under format when adding HTML)
  • Use keywords
  • Bulleted or numbered lists
  • Link to additional content using descriptive words (not "Click Here")
  • Create hyperlinks
  • Highlight only as necessary -- use bold sparingly
  • Be search engine friendly (SEO Writing)

Keep a calendar

  • Refresh content to keep users engaged
  • Maintenance is essential 
    • check and update links
    • any reference to a year 
    • content that is outdated

Additional Resources