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Structure your writing

Remember the ‘skim and scan’ tactic we all use when reading online.  Aim to communicate clearly and quickly. Look at your content and decide where you can use:

  • Headings  Choose straightforward titles that tell readers what the page is about.
    Use a meaningful title of up to 70 characters. Give specific information on what the page is about and where it refers to.
  • Summary information  Consider starting with 1 short sentence. Say who the page is for or what it’s about.
  • Subheadings  Introduce new information or topics one at a time. Stick to one key piece of information or idea in each paragraph.
  • Lists or bullet points These are quick and easy to scan.
  • Question and answer formats  Show your audience if their questions will be answered on this page.
  • Links  Use links to share new or extra information, related pages, a definition or help page. Appropriate external and internal links add authority to your page. Avoid using ‘Click here for more’. Make links part of your sentence. If reputable sites provide the information you need, consider a link instead of rewriting content. For example NHS Inform or NHS 24.

Using these elements to lay out text will also optimise it for search engines. Your audience will be more likely to find your writing once it is published online.

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