Writing Website Content For Scanning


MGNT 138

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Writing for the web is breaking the rules of what we learned in school!

When people are using the internet  to shop, find content, or researching a topic, we are scanning versus reading information. Using the internet is a wealth of information, users do not read sites at leisure like reading a book.

If the website material is not answering the user’s questions in a format that improves scanning and revealing essential topics clearly and early, the user will move. The user is not aware that the writing rules for the web are designed to enhance the experience, but out of frustration will leave to find  the answers to their questions elsewhere.

Tips for writing on the web:

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings break down the material into a “Table of Contents” of information, which guides the user to pertinent topics. Subheadings make the page scannable.

If the user has extended paragraphs to read, most likely, you will lose a customer.


  • Should be no longer than 8 words
  • Don’t be clever, get to the point


Remember the goal is for scanning, keep them short, sweet, and to the point.

So keep paragraphs to 3-5 sentences. If you can share the information in 1 sentence, that will work for web writing. This works best for scanning if your information can be shared in is just 1 sentence.

A 1 sentence paragraph helps to  make reading onscreen easier for your user.


  • Do not write out numbers, for scanning use with 1,2,3, & 4.
  • Use familiar words with no more than 2 syllables
  • Avoid filler words
  • Define acronyms


Conclusion & Editing:

Editing this page:

  • I removed extra words in sentences.
  • Reworded sentences to be shorter and more clear.
  • I used bullets points to enhance scanning.
  • Put the subject first in sentences.
  • Eliminated unnecessary sentences.
  • Keep headings & subheadings consistent throughout the page.

Making pages scannable for the user is a skill that will benefit you.

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