D. IFAD on the internet


D. IFAD on the internet

ong>IFADong> on the internet

Use non-discriminatory language

ong>IFADong>’s online information should not discriminate,

stereotype or demean people based on gender

or ethnicity.

Avoid using masculine or feminine pronouns

generically, as in “Every farmer needs access

to credit to expand his farm.” Also avoid this

awkward construction: “Every farmer needs

access to credit to expand his/her farm.”

To avoid this problem, use plurals as much

as possible: “All farmers need access to credit

to expand their farms.”

Another option is to use the imperative.

The command form of a verb lets you use the

second person (you and your) rather than the

third (he and his or she and her). For example:

“Increase investment in agriculture” instead of

ong>IFADong> has requested the Minister of Agriculture

to increase investment in agriculture”.

Use short paragraphs and sentences

It is hard to read long, dense paragraphs on

a computer monitor. Even a relatively short

paragraph of 100 words looks like a lot of text on

the screen. Short paragraphs help readers find

what they are looking for and make writing easier

to scan. A reader looking for a specific piece of

information is likely to scan, but unlikely to fully

read an entire article.

Write paragraphs of two to five sentences. If the

sentences are long, limit paragraphs further, to

three sentences. Sometimes this will mean one

thought straddles two paragraphs – that is okay.

Have only one thought/idea/concept in

each paragraph.

Limit sentences to 25 words. Good sentences

are concise and well-formed, using logical word

order and solid grammar. They are easy for all

readers to digest quickly, even those with limited

literacy in English.

Keep punctuation simple

Uncluttered sentences are easier to read. If you

find yourself using comma after comma, try

making two (or even three) shorter sentences

out of that long one.

Avoid excessive use of exclamation marks or

emoticons: if your words are clear and strong,

they will not require extra emphasis.

Write captivating headlines

Headlines and titles are critical – they determine

whether or not readers decide to invest more time

reading the content. Successful headlines tell the

gist of the story in a few powerful words and catch

the reader’s interest. Vague or misleading headlines

put off readers. To write an effective headline:

Make sure you thoroughly understand the

content so you can give it an accurate headline.

Think about the most important point in the

content and incorporate it into the headline.

Identify the tone of the content and make the

headline compatible with it. The tone should

also be appropriate for the audience and true to

ong>IFADong>’s identity, standards, value and voice.

Keep headlines short. Summarizing a story

does not require a lot of words. Here are some

good headline examples from ong>IFADong>’s social

reporting blog:


Should ong>IFADong> become a learning



Maps that can talk.


What do numbers tell us?


The world is fed on the backs of

rural women.

Use subheadings

Subheadings are short headings that break up

the text every few paragraphs, making it easier

to scan. This helps readers to find the parts of

the text that interest them most, and it makes the

primary topics of the article stand out with just a

quick glance. Make subheadings bold so they are

easily visible. Good subheadings:

Give readers a glimpse of the content.

Organize the content into readable chunks.

Tell a story that makes it possible to grasp the

gist of the content quickly.

Use bold to highlight key concepts

Use bold to highlight key concepts within

paragraphs. But do not go overboard. Use it

sparingly, for words and phrases, not sentences.

Bold is more effective and easily scanned when

arranged vertically, such as by bolding the first

word or two in each item of a bullet list. Too much

bold scattered throughout text is confusing.




D - 3

Writing for the web

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