Web writing can be challenging and time consuming. It is absolutely necessary for your website and for search engine tracking. However, the brutal truth is that customers scan web pages! They don't read the entire page, instead they pick out individual words and sentences. Keep this in mind when writing your content and remember to use appropriate headings and subheadings. Know your audience and how to effectively communicate to them.
How Visitors Skim Your Web Page
Now that you know that they skim, here are two noteworthy facts:
- You have about 10 seconds to spark interest! A visitor will decide within approximately 10 seconds whether he or she stays on your web site
- If you've captured their interest, visitors scan your web page for specific facts and key ideas. A 50,000 page view research study at the Poynter Institute indicates that visitors read 20% of the words on a web page.
Secret to Writing Great Web Page Copy
The secret is making it scannable or skimmable! Planning, writing, and testing are part of the content creation process. You can create copy by following these three steps:
- Creating Key Takeaways - Identify the key takeaways you want to communicate and set a purpose to the web page.
- Structure Your Content - Place the main ideas in the headlines, major points in subheadings, and series of three or more key items in lists.
- Test Your Content - Get feedback about your content. Find out whether the reviewer identified the major takeaways without reading your entire web page.
Guidelines to Making Your Web Site Scannable
A great starting point to any content writing after planning is knowing how to present your content to your audience. These guidelines can help your visitors' experience more enjoyable:
- Use headings appropriately - make heading and subheadings meaningful to the reader and start the headings with information-carrying words
- Use bulleted or numbered lists - the rule of thumb is if you are listing a series of three or more items
- Highlight keywords - make words of interest stand out using various type faces
- One main idea per paragraph - this rule of thumb allows you keep your content better organized
- Most important information in the first two paragraphs - make it easy to find the most important information at the top of the page
- Think like a search engine - Use your web site stats to find what keywords and phrases are being searched and modify your pages if necessary
- Build credibility - use high-quality graphics, good writing, and outbound links
- Keep promotional writing style to a minimum - readers dislike boastful subjective claims and prefer straight facts
Keep Your Visitors Interested
The most popular methods to keep visitors insterested include:
- Tips and Tricks
The above points are essential for improving your web site's readability and to capture your visitors (limited) attention. The primary goal is to convince the user your web site is worthy of his or her attention, and the secondary goal is to make it easy to find what they are looking for. Concise, scannable, and objective language provides the best visitor experience. Using these best practices and planning, creating, and editing your web page content contributes to a user-centric design and more successful web site.