A good webpage
not only looks good and is easy to use, but it also reads right.
Content is highly important, and if you write poorly, no one will
take you as seriously as you hoped. And yet, few web designers
are experienced authors.
GNWDA member Annette Dammer, of We-eee! Writers' Ministries, shares
these 12 tips. Annette is a journalist and English instructor.
Each page should
have just one focus. If you can't explain your "topic"
in one sentence, you might want to reorganize.
My focus for
this page? "Provide 12 ways to write clearly and effectively
for a web ministry." Those 12 will be the "outline"
I follow as I write.
= fuzzy reception.
#2: Keep It Short
web is a high-speed read. Most visitors don't have time to gently
peruse War & Peace. Not here. Maybe not
If you want
to offer more text/details, offer a link to documents they can
download/print and read later.
short, too. (Notice the length of my sentences.)
It's not about
"writing for dummies." That would demean.
clarity. Most visitors browse for interest.
Let them know your point - quick before they click!
#3: Be Clear. Concise. Communicate.
rid of redundant, repetitive, repeating, extra words and fancy-pants,
high-paradin', chatterbox ways. Verbosity can be perceived as
arrogant, exacerbating, voraciously time consuming, provides distance
between the content, author and audience. In conclusion - it irritates!
Remove redundant, rambling, repetitive words, especially
when they are distracting, and the target audience will most likely
come closer to realizing your projected message.
Take out unnecessary words and your reader will get The
Do I hear
#4: Play to Your Audience
is your reader? Will they understand "church speak"?
Are they "Seekers" who will be frightened away?
they are steeped in training and comfortable with theological
references, a deep, theological site will appeal and minister
Who is your
audience? What is their interest? Speak in their language and
they will hear you...
#5: How Can You Serve?
can you be a servant? This is my main goal. Christ asked me to
and it makes good business sense, as well.
my reader, I must discern their needs. For example, at TEEN LIGHT, a ministry
in which I'm involved, we know that teens need financial aid,
contests for their talents and publishing opportunities. We link
to the very best resources, even though they have nothing to do
with the teen2teen Christian arts mag we publish.
If we have
what teens need, what they appreciate, they will return often.
#6: Keep It Active
speaking of history, it is best to stay in active voice. Active
voice helps the reader experience your ministry. They are here!
had been starving for days.
OR... The child was starving.
John starves slowly. The child hasn't eaten today. He didn't eat
Simple, clear, concise. Active voice.
#7: Why Should They Care?
who is your reader? What makes them care? Children? Education?
Try to see through their eyes and speak to their hearts. We all
have different viewpoints and different callings.
#8: Easy On The Eyes
your reader and irritate them.
not your goal.
But the same
applies to print. I spent years as a reporter, and we valued "white
space." We left comfortable amounts of white on each page.
It is where the reader rests.
at two-sentence paragraphs; however, in a speed read format, short
paragraphs make quick perusals comfortable and easy.
long paragraphs. If you must keep it "long," highlight
natural breaking points or bold your main points.
long copy with dark, mini headlines, or bold the first sentence
of each section.
goal is reader comfort.
#9: Don't Get Burnt
publish your first draft.
eat a cookie right out of the oven. Let your writing "cool"
overnight so you don't get burnt. If possible, have a strong reader/writer
is, a small error can make a big mess. I once published a Society
piece on the elite Burns' Supper Club.
By typo I
renamed them: The Bums' Supper Club.
"thanked" me the very next day!
How Would YOU Say It?
read your writing out loud. Read to a friend by phone, to your
dog or to yourself. You want to make sure you'd actually "say"
what is written.
If the dog
cocks an ear and twists his head, you might need to revise.
you speak. Speak to your reader and they will hear you!
For whatever reason, my corrections always leave additional errors.
I try to spell-check after any change at all - certainly before
uploading my page to the Web. Even more important, don't trust
spell-check. "Bums" and "burns" are both correct,
and computers make no distinction between God and dog.
A small error
can cause a big problem.
Just Do It
can. Your Father will make sure of it.
And you speak
to people all the time. Just write the words down.
If you can't
spell, if grammar gives you nightmares, don't worry. Find a friendly
editor. Moses had Aaron; God will send you what you need.
is, you've been called to do this. God helped Moses, He's got
a plan for us. We just need the faith to get moving.
delights in helping us.
God bless you as you move forward!
Annette Dammer is the founder of We-eee! Writers'
Ministries. Her group publishes the teen2teen Christian arts
LIGHT. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
this tutorial as a printable Word Document.