Writing Style for Web
Weber State University prides itself on providing open access to a quality education. We are a welcoming institution, and our communication should reflect that.
For official communications, WSU follows:
- Associated Press (AP) Style
- Figures of Speech (WSU-specific info such as building and program names)
Tips for Web Writing
Web users are looking for information or wanting to complete a task—our job is to help them find what they’re looking for ASAP.
- Keep it short and simple. Know your main points before you start writing, so you can get right to them. Paragraphs shouldn’t contain more than two or three short sentences.
- Avoid jargon. Universities have an internal language that a general audience may not understand. Be as simple and direct as possible; write about “what you’ll learn” instead of “student outcomes.” Try to use keywords that you think readers will be looking for.
- Write for scanning, not reading. Don’t make people pick important information out of a long paragraph; break your info into chunks that people can scan quickly. Use headlines, subheads, bullet points and ordered lists to help them find what they want.
- Replace words with images. Is there a chart that will help you present a point more quickly than words? That’s far more likely to catch a user’s eye and help them retain the information.
- Write to your readers. Website language should be professional and conversational—write as if you were speaking directly to a person, using “you” language rather than third-person references (“the applicant must …”).
At WSU, we communicate with many different audiences: high school students, parents, alumni, donors, working professionals … on your website you may be reaching all of these at once, so keep your writing simple and straightforward. If you have a site directed at a specific group (donors, for example), you can tailor your writing style and word choice to better connect with those readers.