Writing for your website

Writing successful website content for a university, college or institute of technology can be challenging. These sites have to fulfill different needs for many different users and engage all their visitors.

  • For prospective students and their parents, a visit to your website could be the first time they interact with you – it’s your opportunity to engage with them
  • For current students, it’s a vital source for information – and you need them to rely on it
  • For staff, academics and alumni, it’s an essential communication tool – both internally and externally.Capture doogle big

This hands-on one-day course shows you how to write successfully for all your audiences: home and abroad, internal and external, young and not-so young. We also look at the good, the bad and the ugly; assessing content on university websites and comparing it with your own.

We’ve delivered this course to web content writers, managers and marketing teams in NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and University College Cork.

On successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Feel confident they can write and edit effectively for their website
  • Understand the issues involved in making online writing accessible to all readers
  • Understand how users ‘read’ websites
  • Know how to achieve a reader-focused style and structure
  • Be able to explain information quickly, clearly and concisely
  • Understand how to adapt hard copy for the web
  • Recognise common errors of punctuation and use of English
  • Receive a comprehensive resource pack with useful online links

Course content

Part 1 – Planning: Clear thinking leads to clear writing
Essential steps in planning a professional website:

  • Understand how readers access web pages
  • Define your purpose
  • Identify your target readership (age, expertise, interests, literacy etc.)
  • Build an effective structure for a page, with a skeleton
  • Use hypertext / anchor links to improve accessibility
  • Link information, using chunks and following breadcrumbs
  • Practice

Part 2 – Writing content: strong, clear, concise English

  • Identify best practice in web content writing for academic institutions
  • Assessing university/college websites
  • How to adapt hard copy for the web
  • Accessibility –  how to achieve WCAG 2.0 (international standard supported by the National Disability Authority)
  • Ensure scanners get the message quickly
  • Get the style and tone of voice right – for your target audiences
  • Use clear, concise, accessible English
  • Does it do what it says on the tin? Good labelling
  • Ensure each section fulfills its purpose (e.g. informs users, answers their questions)
  • Use images effectively
  • Practice

Part 3 – Reviewing: Polishing the content

  •  How to edit to make every word count
  • Checklist: common errors of grammar, punctuation etc.
  • Identify commonly confused words
  • Practice

Pre-course work
We ask participants to:

  • Complete a pre-course questionnaire about objectives, writing experience and issues they would like to cover.
  • Send examples of web content they have written recently. They will be used in an individual editing exercise during the final part of the course (as a tool to measure progress and skills).

This outline is for a one-day course. It can also be delivered as a half-day course, which will focus on the writing section of the outline above. Please contact us for details.