Writing For The Internet

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The top four paragraphs should provide all the information a reader would need if they didn't know anything about it in advance.

Try to answer all the 5 W's - Who, What, Why, When and Where.

Lots of research has shown that it is very off-putting to readers, who tend to click onto something a bit easier on the eye.

So use photos, bullet points, crossheads (like the BREAK IT UP one just above) or other techniques to help break up the page.

It's not always possible to talk to somebody directly, so sometimes you might need to use quotes from other sources: perhaps a press release or a personal website.

That's fine, but you should make it clear where the quotes came from, so your audience understands.The three C's - making sure your writing is Clear, Concise and Correct - are a good starting point for any web writing.Short words in short sentences give you a much better chance of keeping hold of your reader, and are easier to understand for a wider audience.Most journalists have produced a few shockers during their careers, but thankfully most have been changed before getting published!But here's a few that didn't, from various sources: One of the most important elements of a good online story is to avoid large chunks of unbroken text.For instance, Sir Alex Ferguson might be very well-known in the world of football, but you need to tell your readers that he is the manager of Manchester United. A great way to liven up a report is with some quotes from the people who are part of the story.The best way to get these is to speak to and interview the people involved yourself, so you can ask the questions you want to know the answers to.Make sure you quote them accurately, but don't feel you have to get every "...erm", "..I say" or "...yeah" in the report.You can tidy up somebody's words as long as you don't change the meaning.In many cases there are longer alternatives - but do they really add anything, or are you just trying to sound clever?BBC website journalists have to be able to get all the key information inside the top four paragraphs of a story, as this section is used on the Red Button service.


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