Writing for the Web

Kathy Henning, a prolific website copywriter since 1997, sums up web writing best:

     "The web isn't about communicating with grandeur. It's about communicating with speed."

Understanding how visitors read on the web is key to writing good web content -- content that is scannable for the way people read on the web.

Six expert tips for creating "scannable" text:

  • Highlight keywords (Hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
  • Use meaningful subheadings (not "clever" ones)
  • Create bulleted lists  
  • Present one idea per paragraph
  • Try the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
  • Edit down to half the word count (or less) of conventional writing

For extensive details regarding web writing techniques and best practices, visit webwritingthatworks.com or read the "Writing for the Web" training document.


Copyright is alive and well on the Internet. This applies to text, photographs, clipart and other images, and even web site layouts. So when in doubt, don't copy! Read more at "10 Big Myths about copyright explained."

In an effort to maintain consistency throughout the CNU website, please refer to these standards as well as the CNU Communications Standards for writing copy. For more detailed guidance on writing for the web, please read the "Writing for the Web" training document.

Location Info
Office locations:

McMurran Hall 305

Administration Bldg. 311

Department of Music
Christopher Newport University
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, VA 23606
Event Location, Date & Time
7 p.m., Sept. 3, in the Monroe Room

9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Dec. 11, David Student Union Ballroom
Always use a.m. and p.m. but never :00

Please arrive at 7:45 a.m. for the 8 a.m. start time.
Dollar Amounts Acronyms
Always spell out the acronym the first time it is used with the acronym itself to the right:

Liberal Learning Curriculum (LLC)
David Student Union (DSU)
The proper structure for referring to electronic mail is email.
Social Media References


Facebook has very specific policies on referencing your presence on Facebook and the use of the Facebook logos and trademarks. Please read these policies thoroughly and ensure your website is in compliance.


Twitter has rules and best practices directly related to you receiving and sharing content through your Twitter account. Be sure you understand these rules and policies and put them into practice as you "Tweet."

Email Etiquette and Campus-Wide Emails

Writing an email is similar to writing a letter on paper. Several principles apply in both cases:

  • Use the subject wisely. Like the title of a memo, use your email's “subject” to indicate your message topic. Example: "Weekly Staff Meeting" instead of "meeting."
  • Be clear in your message. Unless you have been in contact previously, it is better to fully explain a question or topic in your e-mail. Don't assume your audience will know what you mean.
  • Spell check. Spell check again. Although email can be a casual means of communication between friends, messages sent to colleagues and constituents should remain professional.
  • Please do not write your message in ALL CAPS. Using all caps in an email means that you are "yelling."

Request a Campus Wide Email.