Web Writing Standards

Below are some helpful hints to make your website more readable.

General conventions

  • Do not underline words that are not links. They can be confused with real links, and annoy your visitors.
  • When referring to the name of a specific web page drop the www. For example, MetaFilter.com
  • When referring to the address of a web page, write out the full address, including the http://.
  • Use one font/style/size for your headings or titles and one for your text. Any more, unless done with purpose, looks unprofessional.


  • Web pages are scanned rather than read. Be direct and to the point.
  • No more than 5 paragraphs per page.
  • Write descriptive headings for paragraphs.
  • Write clear summaries of content that follows.
  • Use bulleted lists.
  • Check your facts.


  • Use italics sparingly. They are difficult to read.
  • Avoid unnecessary CAPITALIZATION.. They are difficult to read too, and is considered yelling.
  • Avoid too many exclamation marks! It diminishes their meaning!!!
  • Avoid single bullet lists.
  • Avoid using spaces and punctuation incorrectly for emphasis.

Things to stay away from

  • Avoid technical jargon. Rephrase into meaningful English.
  • Remember even the most obvious ironic or sarcastic statements are often misunderstood.
  • Do not over embellish, or hype. People will think you are lying.
  • Telling people they are wrong.