Often, people have landed on your Web site because they are looking for information. They are hoping to solve a problem, answer a question or find contact information. People get frustrated when they can get their question answered quickly, and they will leave your site if they can’t find the desired information right away.
Make it easy for visitors to your site — anticipate their needs and give them what they want. Here are three questions to consider when developing the copy for your site:
- Who is your audience?
- What is the objective for the site?
- What do you want people to take away from the site?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will be able to focus on how to write the information. Here are five tips:
1. Keep it short. People don’t read the web, they scan. Short sentences and even shorter paragraphs are key. Shoot for less than 100 words for paragraph and less than four paragraphs per page (less than 600 words per page). If you need more information to explain a topic, consider breaking it up into sub-pages.
2. Keep it simple. Usability experts estimate 30-40 percent of web users are “low literacy”. That’s why your content should be written at a 6th — 8th grade reading level. Use plain language will help ensure your readers understand the information. Check out this site to test the readability of your page.
3. Be direct. Convey the most important information and avoid unnecessary details that can weigh the reader down. Also, use action words to keep the reader moving.
4. Avoid jargon. Acronyms antd industry-speak can be confusing to the reader. Use plain language instead. If you must use these terms, remember to provide a definition. Also, remember to spell out acronyms the first time it is used on the page.
5. Format effectively. Bullets, lists and subheadings help people digest information quickly and easily. Also, it is helpful to link to other pages on the site that might provide additional information that might be useful to the reader.
What other tips do you have for writing for the Web? Do you have any pet peeves when reading a Web site?