Built hundreds of website and helped countless schools realise their potential online. Ian should be called upon for straight-talking advice and to make a difference to the way you present your school through every outlet.
We're growing increasingly used to reading on screens but it isn't actually the easiest thing in the world. It can be tiring first of all. It's also really easy to layout your content in a way that makes it so much harder to read. The good news is that by following a few simple tips and a little practice, you can write readable school website content in no time at all.
Who are you writing for? If you remember that everything you write is for the benefit of your readers, you're already going a long way to make sure people read your content. You also need to remember to write in a style that appeals to your readers. Keep it simple, get straight to the point and write in a tone that is relevant to what you're writing.
As an example, if you're writing about something wonderful that one of your students has done, truly readable school website content will be excited, celebrating the success of your students. Likewise, if you're writing a formal introduction to a new member of staff or introducing a policy, the tone will reflect what you're writing.
Write your content with these simple tips in mind. Firstly, make sure the first sentence in your opening paragraph with the most critical information. That will encourage your readers to keep reading. It's also important to make sure your paragraphs aren't too long.
Short sentences are good. They are clearer to read and easier to understand. You will be less likely to make grammatical errors in shorter sentences and don't include too many long sentences.
I had a conversation with someone who worked in a school not too long ago. We had a discussion about using school-specific terms when talking to parents. The issue was whether or not parents would understand them. We decided that it was fine to use jargon as long as you explain what it means. Actually, best practice says that if there is a word that you need to explain to your audience, use another word!
From a search engine point of view, using words that link sentences together is really important. It's also a great way of explaining something clearly. Linking words are words like 'because', 'as', 'therefore', 'rather', 'while'. They're a really good indicator to your audience of where the sentence is going. They give your readers a clear picture of the relation between sentences.
The big thing to remember is to mix it up all the time. Don't use just a long series of short sentences. Rather alternate long sentences with short ones and if you notice that you're using the same word a lot, look up alternatives.
The most important thing is to focus on what your audience actually wants to read. Your school website design must bear those people in mind. The pointers and tips above will help you in the 'technical' side of writing readable school website content which will help with your website being found on the search engines. But the most important thing is to focus on what your audience actually wants to read.
For further reading check out our Overview of fabulous school website content.
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