Structuring information

Increasingly, the texts you write will be for online use. It’s very likely that a leaflet or other printed document will also appear on an online channel. Content isn’t just text: it refers to all written material, images, videos and forms that we publish on our websites, apps and social media.

Structure your content well. This helps search engines to assess your page, and your visitors to understand the text. On screen, readers scan material for the right information, so think about what your target audience will come to do at your page. Arrange things logically. Organise the content in chunks and use good headings and links.

Start with the key message

Build up your online text like a pyramid: start with the core. Give the most important information right away in the first sentence, so readers can decide whether to read on. Put details later on in the text or redirect readers via a link.

Informative titles and headings

Put a short heading at the top of your page. Try not to use more than five words. The heading must reflect the content accurately, so readers can work out if it provides the information they are looking for. Make sure the heading includes the target audience’s search terms. Google also scans the headings on the page. If they are similar to readers’ search queries, they will be easier to find. Don’t use a full stop after a heading.

Use paragraphs and subheadings

Present one point per paragraph, and keep your paragraphs short. Taken together, your subheadings should give a complete overview of the content of your web page.

Use structural markers

Make the content clearer by dividing it into chunks:

  • Separate paragraphs with a blank line.
  • Use bullet points. Put instructions in numbered lists.
  • Use tables and images.
  • Links and bold words attract attention and help readers find their way. Use them in moderation.

See Search Engine Optimisation for more details on improving your content for improved search engine results.

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