It’s very easy to pick a website that’s been a ‘copy and paste’ job from a sales brochure or print ad. They are usually very long, wordy and difficult to read online. Often, these people have made the fatal mistake of not writing for the web.
Writing for the web is very different to that of traditional print media, because users don’t actually read the text – they scan it. To make your website easier to digest online, here are our top 4 tips on writing for the web:
TIP 1 -Users Don’t Read – They Scan
As mentioned earlier, users don’t read text on a webpage as they would from a newspaper, they scan it. Studies have shown that around 79 per cent of test users always scanned a page they came across with only 16 per cent reading it word by word. In order to make important text stand out, there are many formatting elements available including:
- Bolded Text
- Bulleted Lists
- Headings and Subheadings
- Typeface size
As a general guide, try and halve the word count of traditional text and include only one idea per paragraph as users will skip over any further information.
TIP 2 – Keep it Narrow
It’s common knowledge that the longer the text is horizontally, the less likely it is to be read. Newspapers have known this secret for years and continue to write articles with short column widths. The good news is, it’s easy to employ by using narrow columns supplemented with pictures etc. to fill up the remaining space.
TIP 3 – Important Text Above the Fold
What is ‘the fold’ some of you may be asking? The fold is the line that divides the page first visible to a visitor from the part she or he has to scroll to see. Of course this line will change depending on the users screen resolution, but studies show that most users are working with a resolution of 1024×768 or above.
Make sure your important ‘calls to action’ and links above the fold, with supplementary text following towards the end of the page.
TIP 4 – Don’t Forget Search Engines
Never forget that your content makes or breaks your search engine ranking. In a previous article, I covered my top 5 tips on how to write good content with search engines in mind, so make sure to employ these tips when writing your webpage copy.