People don’t read so be smart with your website content

Creating website content is hard. When people scroll first and read later, how do you ensure your message comes through? Here are 5 tips to get you thinking.
Post Featured Image - People Don't Read So Use Your Words Wisely

When was the last time you actually read a web page? I mean, other than the news or celeb gossip of course. Think about your last first experience on a website, can you remember how you browsed? What content stands out to you from that experience?

Like many things on the internet, how people use and consume a website’s content is constantly changing. When the internet was first becoming a thing, its main purpose was the display and consumption of text-based information. That was all the technology was able to do.

Fast forward to today and the internet is first and foremost a media consumption platform. Whether your latest Netflix binge or your stream of cute puppy photos on Instagram, the internet is less and less about the words we read and more about the experience we create.

As a brand looking to sell something or share a mission, how you manage your content and how you leverage it is even more important. Each word carries more weight and like page speed or video where less is often more, you need to be strategic in its use.

So, here are a few tips and strategies to keep your content smart and your digital objectives moving forward.

1. Use more headings and larger fonts.

Good design creates a balance between media and text in a way that ensures the most important and relevant content is consumed first. As you look at the pages on your site or the specific page you’re hoping to create, start with large fonts or even headings (H1 or H2). It’s a lot easier to see when a block of content is getting too long if the size of the font is HUGE. It’s a good way to cut down on filler words and the passive voice too.

2. Draw your page with a pen and paper first.

We aren’t able to handwrite as small as we can type and often when we can draw out where things go, we get a better sense of what will fit. A text document with its edge-to-edge fillable space, begs to be filled. Fighting that urge by drawing it out can keep you from communicating more than you have to.

3. Let someone else edit.

This is one I struggle with. I like to write a LOT of words. I’ve even been called … verbose. Can you believe it?! There’s so much I want to say and often there’s a ton of context that I think matters. In the end though, often it doesn’t matter. Being open enough to let someone else edit your copy without getting too emotional about it can be a good way to cut down on the unnecessary. Your page copy will likely be punchier and things that don’t make sense or are missing information will be caught ahead of time. Try checking in with someone who doesn’t do what you do or is in your company to see if your copy makes sense to them.

4. Relevance trumps quantity with Google.

Google’s priority is to make sure the right content gets served to the right person through the right search. When you’re preparing a new page or a new site, think about the person you are writing for and what solution you’re hoping they’ll find. Research, understanding your target ‘persona’ and writing in a natural way are the best search engine optimizations you can do.

Is this a good idea? Content needs to be strategic.

5. Add photos and videos that enhance your message.

If the image or video helps drive the message home, it’s going to be worth the thousand words you don’t write. Be careful not to overdo it though. Too much can distract from your core message.

Less actually is more.

That old adage, less is more rings true in your website content as much as in anything. As you plan your website or landing pages, remember your audience, the action you want them to take and the most relevant information to help them take that action. Keep that in mind and you’ll be well on your way.

What about you?

These are my thoughts on website content but maybe you have some other tips and tricks? Add yours to the comments below.

James Giroux

James Giroux

James is the CEO at Groundwork. He helps organizations of all shapes and sizes build meaningful connections with their audience (often through web design, product management and community development). He is a husband, father, traveler and irregular Instagrammer.

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About Groundwork

Groundwork’s experienced team has designed, built and supported digital products, online communities, company websites and shops since 2004. 

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