People read differently online—they scan, they don’t always start at the beginning, and they read less. Here you’ll find some style considerations and writing best practices to help you create more consumable and impactful web content.
Web content is nonlinear
In print, readers generally follow a linear progression through copy. However, on the web, content is nonlinear. People “choose their own adventure” online, navigating through multiple hyperlinked pages when something grabs their attention. They don’t always enter our site through the homepage or other predetermined paths that we set for them. They search. Which is why it’s important that each page provides a consistent brand experience and can stand alone.
Web content is collaborative
Writing copy for the web is best done as part of a larger collaboration with the design, UX, strategy, and technology teams. Doing so is essential for creating web experiences that tell a cohesive story. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of how websites work because it can be helpful as you organize and present information. You can work with the proper teams to understand our digital and technical guidelines, best practices, and more about the specific platforms we use.
Web content must be scannable
The bigger your block of text is, the bigger your chances the reader will skip right over it. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and pithy. Use lists where appropriate, but don’t overuse them. Include a subhead for each section. You can also work with your design and UX teams to find areas where a visual or component can help tell the story.
Online, the reader is in control
In print, the author controls the experience, sequence, and even the speed at which the story unfolds. Online, you have no such control. You’ve got about 10 seconds at the most to engage casual browsers. If the page doesn’t meet their needs or if it’s too hard to consume, they’re gone. So make sure you’re in tune with your audience’s needs, and serve up something of interest quickly.
Your headline should be clear and to the point. Use action verbs whenever possible. Capture your reader’s attention with a benefit-driven statement written in conversational language.
Let the reader’s need be your guide. What’s in it for them? Why should they care? What would make them want to keep reading? It’s not necessary to always include “Citrix” or a product name in your headline because your reader has the context of our navigation. Think benefit first, product second.
Employee experience is everything — get it right with an intelligent workspace
Why it works: Benefit-driven, uses natural language, grabs attention
Not like this
Citrix Workspace is the only digital workspace that organizes, guides, and automates work
Why it doesn’t work: Product-driven, uses insider terms, not human-focused
Subheads serve a few purposes—to pay off a headline, to help with scanning, and to break up different sections of a page.
As with headlines, use action verbs and keep subheads short, to the point, and benefit-driven. Remember to always use conversational language.
- Use sentence case.
- Don’t use a period unless the headline or subhead is two sentences or a series of words. Question marks are OK if you’re asking a question.
- Avoid ampersands.
- Capitalize a word fewer than four letters if it’s the last word in the headline or subhead
- Don’t spell out numbers. Use numerals instead.
- Use active voice.
- Don’t use acronyms or initialisms unless you need to for SEO. In that case, be sure to spell it out as soon as you can in body copy.
Calls to action guide your reader to your intended destination. Sometimes “Learn more” or “Request more information” are the correct calls to action. But don’t automatically default to these phrases. Instead, use terms that indicate a specific action or outcome. Try to include a keyword, which will improve SEO, if you can.
Download our Worldpay customer story
Register for the webcast
Register for the employee experience e-book
Email me Citrix Workspace information
Request a consultation
Watch our “Empowering your mobile workforce” video
Listen to Citrix Synergy podcasts
Try Citrix Workspace now
Numbers (5 tips, 10 ways, etc.)
Click here, Click this, Click now
Our style is primarily sentence case. Use it for all:
- Titles in charts and tables
- Buttons and calls to action (CTAs)
- List items (like this one)
- Titles of assets, like e-books, white papers, and infographics
There are a few instances where we use title case:
- Primary navigation
- Trademarked product names
- Command options when used in instructional copy, even if they’re lowercase in the UI (For example: In the File menu, select Save As.)
For more on our capitalization style, see Capitalization.
SEO is an important part of our web strategy. Here are a few considerations for optimizing your copy.
- First, start with our search team, who can help you evaluate and research keywords that will best optimize your copy.
- Gather any keywords before you start writing. Keywords should feel like they’re a natural part of the story. It’s easier to work them in as you plan and organize your copy, rather than stuffing them in at the end.
- Search engines can easily spot content that doesn’t provide value. Approach keywords in the context of what your reader needs and values.
- Include keywords in H1 headings and CTAs whenever possible.