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Creating English websites

Tips for writing specifically for a web audience

Find out how to create an appealing and professional online presence that really speaks to your international target audiences. Browse our tips below or contact us for further ideas. We are glad to support you!

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Creating English websites


Headings have to appeal to readers at first glance and grab their attention. For this reason, they should be carefully constructed to avoid being rigid or dull. At the University of Konstanz, we use “sentence case” and capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns used in titles or headlines.

Examples of headings:

  • Questions:
    Why not Konstanz?
    Why not you?
    Why study at the University Konstanz?
  • Instructions:
    How to apply
  • Calls to action:
    Explore our website
    Find out what to do
    Visit us
    Do not miss our events
  • Numbers:
    5 good reasons to study with us
    3 ways the internship can benefit your career
  • Statements:
    A university known for student experience
    Highly rated for student satisfaction

Keep it simple and short

Our readers are an international audience with very different English language abilities. For this reason: Keep it simple and short (KISS)!

Readers tend to gloss over texts and scan for content. They pay special attention to the first and last words/sentences. Additionally, many international readers are not English native speakers. Since this is the case:

  • Use short sentences (good sentence length: 20 words or less).
  • Summarize with bullet lists instead of large text fields.
  • Position important information at either the beginning or end of texts.
  • Use active verbs instead of the passive form commonly used in German. English-speaking readers interpret the passive form to be overly formal and impersonal.
  • Replace a noun with a verb - verbs are much more dynamic.
  • Use simple words that are easy to understand!
  • Cut out unnecessary words and redundancies. In many cases, you can simply leave out phrases like “due to the fact”, “in order to”, “that”, “corresponding” etc.


  • “The committee will inform you.” instead of “The student will be informed by the committee.”
  • “Please submit the thesis by [date].” instead of “Submission of the thesis has to be made by [date].”
  • “Our exchange programmes with 250 universities worldwide offer...” instead of “Due to the fact that there are exchange programmes with 250 universities worldwide...”
  • “prospects” instead of “future prospects”
  • “get to know” instead of “acquaint oneself with”
  • “more” or “extra” instead of “additional”
  • “end” oder “stop” instead of “terminate”

Reach your target groups

Irrespective of their personal background, all our readers should feel welcome while reading our texts. For this reason, we use terms like “international students/researchers” and avoid words like "alien office" or "alien/foreign students"!

Address your readers directly. This is easy to do in English, since there is no difference between a formal and an informal “you”.

Appeal to emotions. The readers should feel welcomed and appreciated while being motivated to continue reading. They want to sense the individuals who make up an institution, so please always write as if communicating one-on-one.


  • You’ll study alongside 15,000 students from 160 different countries.
  • We support you. (instead of “The University of Konstanz supports the student.”)
  • Our goals
  • You need an undergraduate degree in... (instead of “The potential students are required to have an undergraduate degree in…”)

What’s in it for me?

Readers want to know what advantages they stand to gain and why the topic is relevant for them. The casual reader is less interested in image cultivation and specific informational details.


  • Your future – We’ll equip you with the skills you need to secure that dream job.
  • Enjoy studying and living in a very safe and beautiful parkland campus.
  • The university is consistently rated among the top universities in the country for student satisfaction, so you can be sure that your experience will be a good one.
  • Wherever you are from, you can be sure that you will receive the very best support from the moment you enquire about studying with us until graduation and beyond.
  • At the University of Konstanz, you'll enjoy the very best education, delivered by academics with a rare passion for their subject, backed by a range of outstanding resources.

How to structure your text

Structure your text so it helps your audience concentrate on important information, understand it quickly and respond accordingly.

  1. Get the attention of your target groups – e.g. with suitable photos and headings.
  2. Give a brief overview to introduce your topic.
  3. Write short, concise paragraphs that focus on only one aspect of your topic.
  4. Use subheadings as well as key words and passages in bold to lead readers to the most important information.
  5. Break up large text blocks with lists and bullet points.
  6. What is the main statement? Your text should have a clear, succinct message.
  7. Back up this message with suitable facts and details – e.g. ranking results, testimonials from students, the number of international students.
  8. At the end of your text, ask your readers to take action – e.g. to apply to the university, take part in an event or contact university staff.

A clear structure guides your readers through the text, helps them find the information they need and motivates them to act.