Training with Sookio: How to Write Effectively for our Online Audience
Last Friday the AKU team had a training session with Sookio, a communications for the web and social media organisation. This week’s blog talks about the many tips and skills we learnt throughout the session!
Writing for the web is an important part of the AKU Societies work. With AKU patients so sparsely located around the world our online work is essential! On Friday, communication experts Sookio ran a write for the web training session which was extremely useful in getting us to think about our audience’s needs and how to adapt our writing and content appropriately.
We started the session by looking at how we read on the web. With so much content, users tend to scan pages and eye track studies show that more time is spent at the top and left hand side of the page. This is also referred to as the F-shaped pattern! In order to capture the user’s attention, important information should be summarised at the top of the page. The NHS choices and Oxfam website were given as great examples of this.
With users regularly scanning web content, it is important to make it as easy as possible for the reader to extract the information they need. Simple sentences, short paragraphs, sub-headings, pictures and bullet points are great ways of doing this. The importance of a good ending was also emphasised. Users often skip down to the bottom of the page, so having a clear summary and a call to action is a great way of engaging with these users.
The importance of matching our content to the need of the audience is key. We were asked to identify different audiences who visit our website and consider how to adapt our content and writing style to suit these audiences. St Andrews University website provided a good example of this, by identifying their audiences on the homepage (students, researchers & alumni/donors) and clearly leading them to relevant sections of their website.
Keeping our web content simple is crucial. I’m sure too many of us have experienced those complex, confusing forms, where you are left worried that you haven’t filled it in correctly! Writing in plain, simple English makes information far easier to understand and retain. As George Orwell once said:
‘never use a long word where a short one will do’
We also looked at how we can utilise google to increase our audience base. Exact rules for Google preferences are not known. It is therefore important to replicate the human experience and make content interesting and useful to encourage users to stay on our site and browse more pages. Several useful tips were given, including keywords, regular fresh content and getting our website link on other sites.
The final part of the session looked at blogging and in particular, the importance of a good blog title! With so many bloggers out there, it is important to make your blog stand out, with an enticing title that makes the post content clear. Strong titles also increase the likelihood of your blog being shared!
The write for the web training session was really useful and we would like to thank Sookio for imparting their wisdom and expertise! We all left the session enthused with new ways to engage with our audiences online and look forward to putting these new tips and skills into practice!
We are planning a review and redesign of our website early next year and would really appreciate feedback from our patients and supporters! If you do have any comments on how we can improve our website design and content, please email [email protected].