Applying Good Writing Principles to Your Business Website

You need to adapt your writing style for the web due to limitations of time and screen space but the basic principles of good writing still apply when creating business marketing copy. Keep these points in mind:

  • Write vividly. Use specific nouns and verbs rather than strings of gratuitous adjectives and adverbs.

  • Skip the jargon. Use your readers’ ordinary language.

  • Be yourself. In spite of all these directions, let your personality shine through. When appropriate, include an emotional jolt of humor or wit as a payoff to the reader.

  • Check spelling and grammar. If you don’t have a content management system that checks spelling and grammar, write the text first in a word processing application. Save your checked and corrected content as a .txt file or in Notepad to remove formatting.

  • Have others read what you write. It’s easy to get too close to your writing. Have someone else read it for clarity, accuracy, and omissions.

  • Proofread your text. Read your text out loud. It’s the fastest, easiest way to find mistakes. A site full of errors gives visitors the impression that you're sloppy. If you don’t care about your own site, how do visitors know you'll care about them as customers?

Not On Tobacco, the American Lung Association’s site to help teens stop or reduce smoking, follows these guidelines. Visit the site to see its use of the second person you, multiple calls to action, short sentences, and bulleted lists.

You’ll find excellent resources for web writing at

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