Creating meaningful, interesting content for your web page can be challenging. Presenting your content the way you would in a departmental memo or an annual report does not appeal to most visitors.
Most visitors spend an average of 15 seconds on a web page...15 seconds!
What does this mean to you as a page owner? Be brief, be concise and be casual. Present your information so it is easily digested as the visitor scans the page for what they are looking for.
There are all kinds online resources that can help you as you begin to prepare to write content for your web page. But before you go off and search for 'web writing', consider these tips:
- Use bullet points where you can
- Don't put it all on the main page - plan your 'site', not just your 'page'
- Create a site hierarchy - you may need more than one sub-page
- Read our Writing for the Web tips
- And finally...ask yourself the following questions & write accordingly
What is the purpose of your page?
Best answer = marketing. Pretty much every web page should be marketing something. A product, an image, a message, a point of view. There may be differing internal opinions on the content of a particular page, but marketing to your target audience should be your first priority.
The key is to write content that accentuates your strengths and minimizes your challenges. You also have to balance the secondary goals for your page content, needs like providing form access or communicating policies. There are ways to manage all of these needs and still market to your audience effectively. We are happy to help you focus your writing efforts. Please Email CSN Marketingcontact us to schedule an appointment.
What content can you access now and what do you still need to find?
You may already have access to your content. Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to. If you have a brochure, flier or other piece of collateral that has been approved by the marketing department or communications office, you may have most of what you need for your web page. Think about how you can organize it, edit it for brevity and present it to visitors effectively using the tips above.
You may need to create new, original content. If so, make sure you partner with the content experts in your area. Ensure you have all the facts you need from every relevant area before you start writing. If you organized your content well, then you should be able to frame your main points and present them effectively. You may also find you need sub-pages or other features.
How will you present the information?
Best answer = the way the visitor can quickly comprehend it. General readability is crucial. Readability is simply how easily a visitor can understand what you have written. Consider your audience. While most content developers are college educated, visitors to our site may not be. Consider that most consumer information, such as the text found on prescription labels and in product descriptions, is typically written to a 7th or 8th grade reading level. Lengthy sentences, complex phrasing and the use of trade jargon does not help visitors to quickly find what they need on your page.
This may sound overly simplified, but the best way to help visitors quickly find the most important information is by placing it at the top of the page. Many developers come from environments that use introductions and executive summaries. These don't help the visitor that is scanning for information. In actuality, it pushes the critical information further down the page.
Best practice is to quickly get to the point. Tell them the most critical points in the first paragraph. If they decide to scroll down or move on, at least they saw the essential information.
You can always list information such as contacts, locations and hours in other places on your page. Some of these areas will be defined by the CMS anyway. Strive to keep your text area uncluttered. If authorized, use callout boxes, tables, graphs, videos and other CMS tools to help you organize the rest of your page around your main content. If you would like advice, feel free to Email CSN Marketingcontact us.