While revamping legal website content, I have realized that many businesses don’t take the time to organize the text on their pages. Though organizing written work is a basic skill most of us learn by the time we’re in high school, it seems to be one that is widely underused.
Sure, organizing your thoughts before putting them out into the World Wide Web takes time and effort. And, the process can feel like a chore, but having logical, organized pages gives your readers the information they need in a clean, inviting fashion.
Make sure your ideas are structured and flow well.
In good writing, your ideas should be coherent and follow a logical path. In other words, it is best to keep like things together and finish discussing one topic before bringing up the next one. Even if you follow a classic writing structure of an introduction, body, and conclusion, if your thoughts are not clear, your reader will feel as though they are on a rollercoaster.
Use transition words.
Transition words should act as traffic signals and road signs for your readers. A good transition shows contrast, draws a picture in your mind, or signals the end of one thought and lights the path to another. There are dozens of transition words you can use. Here is a handy list from blogger Jon Taves at EF Essays:
For a comprehensive list of transition words and their various uses, visit this page on Smart-Words.org.
Create an outline.
A great way to organize your site’s pages — actually save time — is to create outlines. Before you start writing, you must decide what discussion points will make up your page. To keep things simple for readers, it is best to break your topics down into three or four major parts – an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. Classic. If you skip this critical step, you will indeed spend more time writing and rewriting and then reorganizing your page in the end. Even with a rough outline of your ideas, your message will be clearer. You can use an outline like the one below from Ms. David’s Classroom Website to organize your ideas.
Using an outline will also allow you to plan out your conclusion. A lot of the time, people just stop writing and don’t finish their thought leading their readers to an abrupt and confusing end. That doesn’t mean you need to end each page with “In conclusion…” but that does mean that you need to end your train of thought in some coherent fashion. It can be straight to the point or it can be a longer summary of what you’ve addressed. Just make sure it’s organized and it makes sense.
After you’ve organized your writing, be sure to check out last week’s post about formatting your text and come back next week for tips about how to write for your audience.
And always remember, if you’re having trouble writing, call us: 888-521-3880.
Be sure to check out our glossary of content marketing terms to deepen your marketing strategy knowledge.