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Repurpose print material for the web

Don’t cut and paste the text of print documents to create web content. People are more likely to leave your webpage, potentially costing you time and money, because they will not take the time to find what they are looking for.

Print writing is different from web writing. Print is very linear and narrative driven. In print, you can go into great detail about mundane things like eating breakfast. If you are a great writer, that can be an interesting story. But those interesting stories don’t work on the web. Instead they slow down web users who are trying to accomplish a task.

Jacob Nielson explains that “Web users want actionable content; they don’t want to fritter away their time on (otherwise enjoyable) stories that are tangential to their current goals.”

Because the web is “action-oriented,” you need to repurpose your print document. Pick out important information that will help your users and create a new web page.

  • Keep the most important and clear message at the top of the web page.
  • Chunk your content into logical sections.
  • Use headings to help users navigate the content.
  • Highlight key facts in a bulleted list.
  • Explain complex instructions in a visually appealing table.