Writing for the Web Requirements
These are the EPA Web content writing requirements.
- If you think you're ready to publish your page, remove at least 50% of the words.
- Make it immediately clear why (or for whom) the page exists.
- Make it scannable -- Area Headings and links should be visually distinct and meaningful.
- Write in plain, direct language - use active voice and not above an 8th grade level.
- Write for the target audience.
Less is more
- Fact: No matter how good your content, your users will not read your web page.
- You’re using too many words. Edit harshly.
Why does this page exist? Focus. Focus. Focus.
- Be sure to communicate to your users why this page is important for them.
- A single, short statement.
- First thing on the page
- Why does this page exist? Focus your content on that purpose only.
Make it scannable
- Users scan for Area Headings and links – make sure these are visually distinct.
- Make sure the text of Area Headings and links clearly conveys meaning – it may be the only text the user reads on the entire page.
- Use lists where applicable
Say what you mean – Be direct
- Be clear and concise (Guidance or law? Guideline or requirement?)
- Use plain language (avoid jargon unless it is absolutely crucial)
- Always use active voice.
- Paragraphs should not contain more than 50 words
- Sentences should not contain more than 15 words.
- Fewer syllables per word are preferable when possible.
- Do not write above a Grade 8 literacy level
- Make text timeless (e.g. avoid words like recently or today, etc.)
- Users need to understand what they’ll get before they click on a link. Links should not say Click Here or More…
- Descriptive text - link text and page title of destination page should be related.
- If it's not a web page, indicate the type of file/format that is behind the link (video or audio, document download, etc.).
- Do not put up print products as HTML without modifying content to be web content.
- Fewer words and add appropriate links