Planning and writing

Not sure where to begin? Follow these quick instructions to make sure your web content stays on task.

1. Put yourself in the place of the user

Before doing anything else, think about the task your web page will address and who it is for – write these 2 pieces of information down. Imagine you are one of your users, and think about what you need to know to achieve your task.

2. List what your user needs

Write down a list of questions you as a user would have about this topic and how to complete your task. Remember you don’t know anything about your organisation, what it does or how it works. You just want to complete your task. These questions will form the basic structure of your web page.

3. Check you’ve covered all the bases

Review your source material (existing web content or printed publications) and see if this gives you any further important questions to add to your list. Review competitor websites as well. 

You should end up with around 6—8 questions. If you have lots more, you will probably need to organise your questions into more than one web page.

4. Prioritise

Order your list by the most common or significant questions, for the user.

5. Fill in the answers

Use your questions as temporary headings, and start to answer each question by filling in the information underneath. Answer each question comprehensively but concisely, or direct users to other sources. If you can’t provide enough information to answer each question, contact a subject matter expert for more detail.

6. Re-write your questions as headings

Re-write your question-headings as proper headings. Front-load them with keywords to make it easier for users to find the relevant information on the page. Make sure the headings accurately describe the text they are referring to.

7. Have you provided a complete picture?

Check that you have provided a complete user journey: could you do more to signpost users to the information they need to complete their task? This may mean sending them to another website.

8. Review your structure

Check that your structure makes sense. Is anything missing? Are there any overlaps? Could you combine any of your sections or cut anything down? Should you break out any sections to be separate pages?

9. Leave the copy alone for 24 hours, then review

Coming back to the page with fresh eyes, check that:

  • it meets its objective (helping the user complete the task)
  • the article’s key messages come across prominently
  • it is written for its target audience
  • it complies with the style guide, has no spelling mistakes, etc
  • links and headings are written helpfully, with links going to the most relevant places
  • you have incorporated relevant SEO keywords

10. Peer review

Get others to review your article and share their feedback with you.