Writing for the Web

Writing succinct, scannable content for the web is key, and more important than verbose, dense content. The Nielsen Norman Group suggests to write 50% less of the text you would use in a hardcopy publication. Why? Visitors to your website are usually looking for some very specific information. It’s your prerogative to present that information easily to them.

Here are a few simple ways to effectively write for the web:

  • Write clear and simple content that is easy for everyone to read on any device
  • Invert the pyramid: Place the most important information at the top of the paragraph. Keep paragraphs to under 3 sentences and covering just one topic.
  • Use headings to break up your content.
  • Write in active voice instead of passive voice. (Ex: write “The department was formed in 1975”, instead of “Formed in 1975, the department…”.)
  • Wherever possible, use lists instead of paragraphs to make your content easier to scan

We have additional tips and guidelines on our Web Writing Style Guide page. More technical information is found on our Web Governance page.

Following these guidelines is important, so that we maintain consistency across Krieger School websites, observe best practices for the web, and remain in compliance with Johns Hopkins University brand guidelines.