Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Writing for the Web

Writing content destined for a browser is different than writing content intended for the printed page. Text is harder to read on a screen. Some studies have shown that online readers read 25% slower than they do from paper. Consider that today users may be reading your content on a phone, a tablet, a 27-inch monitor or even a TV screen, and creating online content has a whole new set of challenges.

The following guide will help you write content for the web. There will be some suggestions that contradict the current standards in other fields and disciplines. Please remember that these guidelines are not the only way to write, or even the “right” way to write, but they offer important principles in writing for the web and will help TRU maintain a unified website and brand.

  • use subheads and lists to help readers navigate the page
  • online, readers scan in an "F" pattern, so make use of informative keywords in subheads and the first word of bullet points
  • keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • follow George Orwell’s advice: “Never use a large word when a small one will do”
  • refer to the TRU Style Guide for questions of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, inclusive language and other style issues
  • refer to Voice and Tone for guidelines on writing in our brand voice and adjusting tone to our various audiences
  • print or save the provided styleguide PDF for easy reference
  • aim for clarity over cleverness