Plain Language in Practice: Writing for the Web

Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Presenter: Leslie O'Flahavan, E-WRITE

On-Demand Webinar

NOTE: Large files will take more time to download


People are extremely impatient when they visit a website. A recent study shows that users will read about 20 percent of the text on the average web page. So how do you make sure they get what they need? You need to write in plain language—write in the active voice, use short sentences, avoid bureaucratic jargon, and organize your content so it's easy to scan.

Writing good web content is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your customers' satisfaction and performance. It's a specialized skill—different than writing publications, news releases or other content. Although you may be familiar with the principles of plain language, you may need practice in applying them when writing for the Web.

In this webinar, you'll practice how to write in plain language specifically for online readers. You'll analyze examples of federal web content written in plain language as well as see how clarity suffers when content isn't written in plain language. You'll receive pre-course content samples to review; then we'll apply plain language principles to these samples during the webinar.

What You Will Learn

  • Plain language principles
  • Why online readers desperately need plain language
  • Examples of before-and-after versions of plain language web content
  • Editing web content according to plain language principles
  • Online plain language resources

Who Should Attend

  • Content editors and authors
  • Internet and intranet content managers
  • Anyone new to plain language as well as those who need a plain language refresher

About the Instructor

Leslie O'Flahavan is a co-founder and partner in E–WRITE. With E–WRITE, Leslie has helped thousands of people learn to write well for online readers. She has delivered customized writing courses for customer service agents, help desk staff, web content contributors, marketers, executives, demographers, county government employees, activists, federal employees, and teachers!

Leslie helps agencies publish usable web content written by a broad range of contributors and develop web writing style guides to govern content writing. This year, E–WRITE has developed an Editorial Style Guide for the Energy Information Administration and an online web writing course for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Leslie is a frequent presenter at web content conferences and has been an Internet Best–In Class award judge for 3 years. She is the co-author of Clear, Correct, Concise E–Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents.



Content Lead: DigitalGov University Team
Page Reviewed/Updated: June 22, 2012

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