We all make instantaneous judgement decisions on a range of topics and a website is no different. You need to get some insight into how visitors arriving at your website make a decision on whether they should spend any time reading your website content. Here are ten tips to help you think about the web page you’re writing or editing so that you can improve your website content and overall writing style
1. Where to start
To be a successful writer online, you always need to write in plain language, ensure your ideas are well organised, use correct spelling and write grammatically correctly and ensure that your website has a clear idea of its purpose and know who its target audience is. You need to write text that is easy to understand and be read on screen and adjust your writing style to suit your audience.
2. The “ahhh” factor
Does the web page look spacious, calm and well-organised? Does its overall appearance make me feel confident and relaxed? A website’s look and feel is important as it helps with the overall first impression that you want to make – which is one of authority and credibility. If there is too much clutter on your website, your readers won’t know where to look first then they will just move onto another website where they can read the content without too many distractions. In this instance less is more.
3. Do I understand this website?
Do I get the gist of this web page after looking at it for three seconds, and without the need for scrolling? Generally people come to a website and if they can’t find what they’re looking for within three seconds they’ll leave your website and find what they’re looking for on another website. People tend to read through a website by clicking on links until they find what they want. So it is important to have your links clearly named and your information – concise and succinct.
4. Where do I go from here?
Why is this content important/relevant to me? Is it obvious what I’m supposed to do next? Your readers are primarily on your website to solve a problem, so not necessarily passively browsing your site just to fill in time. So it is fine to write interesting content, but if there is no solution for them, then the content is just white noise and they’ll navigate away from your website to find another one that will answer their question and resolve their problem.
5. Accessibility and practicality
Can anyone get the essential information regardless of their ability, computer, modem, browser or settings? With more and more people using smartphones and tablets to access websites, it is critical to ensure your website is mobile friendly or uses responsive web design. Ensure that your website developer builds you a website that is in keeping with the latest trends to ensure that your content is accessible.
6. The human aspect of your website
Is it obvious whose site this is and where the owners are located? As websites are virtual – it is important to have a human element to your website – it helps your reader to know that you are a person and not some anonymous robot. Readers need to know that they can trust you, so you need to establish a rapport with them and that’s why having an ‘About’ page or mini Author Bio is important. I also recommend that you have a photograph of yourself so that people can feel as though they are being talked to by a human and can relate to you.
7. The “yeah, right!” test
Can I trust you? How smart are you? How old or relevant is this information? We all want to be convinced that the information we are reading is current, accurate and the best advice we can get. Having a date displayed on your content can help – but then you will need to remember to keep adding new content or the dates will look really stale and people will then tend to assume the content is also.
8. How do people find your website online
How do your potential customers find your web page – do they use a search engine or find you in an online directory? Getting yourself found is half the battle – I’ve already talked about the importance of search engine optimisation and how to get ranked by search engines in a previous article, but the basic premise is that if your website is not coming up in search engine results, especially in the first ten rankings on the first page, then your potential customers cannot find you. So use good keywords to get better rankings with the search engines and submit your website to several well-respected directory websites to get found online.
9. Attention grabbing headings
As there might be hundreds of websites out there on your same subject area – how do you ensure that people click through to your website? By writing a heading which compels people to click. Headings should prepare readers for what you are about to tell them – the first heading should summarise the content of your first two paragraphs. If you write a vague heading it doesn’t help your reader scan the words on your web page nor does it help search engines rank your website and define what your website is about.
10. Powerful content translates to a powerful website
Clued-up people realise they can get more traffic, visitors and greater profit by changing words on a web page. You should not think of words as after-thoughts or add-ons – they are powerful things! By tweaking and re-arranging your choice of words, you can virtually guarantee your website will be noticed, trusted and used. Then monitor and track your improvements so to ensure that they are having the desired result. One place to start is to look at the number of searches people perform each month for certain keywords and assess whether there is enough demand for your chosen topic.