Web and Print have distinct writing styles that cater to their specific types of audiences. One major difference is linear narrative writing vs. non-linear. In print style such as books, newspaper, magazine, journalistic articles etc; a narrative describing an exposition with vivid, sometimes lengthy anecdotes is common practice to better articulate the author’s message. If we look at the purpose behind why print writing is examined in the first place, we can assume that the audience is reading with intention, meaning the author has the benefit of assuming full attention is given to their content.
The wild wild web (as I like to call it) is a jungle with an abundance of both distractions and resources that the modern web user is faced with on the daily. The web writer must assume that they do not have their viewers full attention. Linear narratives that don’t serve to provide the web audience with the specific content they’re looking for may come off as drawn-out, unnecessary and dissuade them from reading further. Non-linear narratives are often used to shorten and summarize content in a more feasible manner. Non-linear content that gets straight to the point saves the web reader they’re most valued resource. Time.
Another difference between print vs. web is the expectations of well structured sentences. Print documents are held to a much higher standard, crafting complete, articulate sentences that give the author credibility as he paints a picture for an audience that has invested their attention towards his content. Web on the other hand is more concerned with grabbing the readers attention in the first place. The web reader who’s usually on a mission for specific actionable content are not so much worried about sentence structure. Sentence fragments are used to compact information with keyword that is readily more digestible for the modern, distracted, on-the-go audience, of the wild wild web.
2 Specific Tips on Writing Content for Web
- Use the active voice when writing your content. Put the subject in beginning of sentence and utilize verbs. The active voice is less-awkward, and delivers a tone that demonstrates trust and confidence.
- Use shorter paragraphs no longer than 50 words to break up text on the webpage. Congested content will only deter your audience from reading. The blank space created by breaking up the text allows your content to be more easily scannable, more appealing for the web user who’s on a mission.