Web editing - What are some general best practices?
Tips to keep in mind when creating content for your pages
Generally speaking, Web visitors have not come to our pages to read. They've come to accomplish a specific task.
Because visits to our pages are usually task-oriented, the best Web content has a clear answer to this (seemingly simple) question:
What will our visitors DO with this information?
Site visitors tend to know exactly what they're looking for, and therefore they tend to make very quick decisions about the usefulness of a page - I.e.: its relevance to their need in that moment.
The way site visitors (and search engines) determine relevance is by scanning the page's topic headers, subtopics and links to assess at-a-glance if this page is likely to have what they're looking for.
The 6 Cs for effective Web pages
An effective Web page shows that its purpose and target audience have been considered. You know what your visitors need, and you provide it. The content speaks at the level of its audience, not its author. It is approachable and relevant. Text, images and links all enhance the purpose of the page.
The structure is clear and logical; easily understood at a glance. Headings and links are meaningful. Text is easy to scan and comprehend. The main task is obvious and clearly supported.
Good pages get straight to the point. Readers don't have to skim over fluff, introductions or welcome messages. Basic rule: if you think it's good cut it in half.
Good content provides concrete and useful information that helps the visitor accomplish a task. Give them facts. Give them clear instructions.
Good Web content is chunked. It can be scanned for basic meaning which invites a closer look. Related chunks of information are grouped and presented in a parallel manner. Your readers find it easy to skim over the page to find the information they are looking for.
The content has been reviewed and proofread. There are no spelling or grammatical errors. The links work. Information is up to date.