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:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.