Developing content for your web site is different than writing a brochure or a sell sheet. Online users are accustomed to information on demand – they have busy lives and short attention spans. So it’s important to keep your content concise and to the point in order to get your message heard.
Here are some tips to consider when creating your web site content:
- Aim for no more than 400 words on a page. Less than 200 is ideal.
- Read your writing. Is there a simpler way to say something? Can you cut out a word, or two, or a sentence? If so, do it!
- Begin the page with an enticing headline and a short and clear statement on the subject. Don’t start with an anecdote or extra introductory copy. If you bury the important information, you’ll lose the reader.
- Be direct. Are you using phrases or “jargon” that only mean something to your organization? Keep wording simple and straightforward.
- Keep paragraphs short. On the web, you have to consider both paragraph content and the way the paragraph will visually look on screen. Big blocks of text are unattractive to users. Break up text with headers or subheads. Use bulleted lists when you can!
- Use single spaces after periods.
- Use the key words that your target audience will be searching for in your body copy. This will help search engines find and recommend your site.
- Include links to outside resources or other pages of your web site within your body copy. This makes it easier for users to find out more information and also improves search engine optimization. But do not use the words “click here” in a sentence – instead, make the text the hyperlink.
- For each page of body copy, you should also include the following, which will be entered into your site behind the scenes for search engine optimization:
- Meta Title – Mandatory. It’s the first thing search engines and web users see in their search results. Limit the title to about 50 – 60 characters (spaces included!).
- Meta Keywords – Recommended. This is a comma-separated list of words and/or phrases that relate to the site and the specific page’s content, include alternative spellings (i.e. bicycles, bikes, etc.). Limit to 20 items or less.
- Meta Description – Optional. It is good to include summaries of overview pages and sections. This description should be 255 characters, max.
- Write for the reader, not for you. Think about what the reader would be interested in learning. It’s not necessarily everything you have to say on a subject.
Remember: 79% of web users simply scan the page – only 16% read word-by-word. Make sure those 79% are getting the right message.