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4 tips for better website content

People don’t read.

They scan.


This is no secret. But it’s often something we forget.


Online readers are different. The web gives us access to mountains of information. And to uncover what we need, we've created ways to sort through it all. Fast.


Scanning.


This presents a unique situation for businesses writing website copy. How do you get your message out there when people don’t actually read online?


Here’s four simple techniques to make your copy online ready.

1. Use subheadings

Subheadings are not only great for humans. It’s also great for search engines. Both use subheadings to navigate through your website content.


Subheadings allow you to:

  • Breakup large sections of text

  • Structure your content better

  • Allow readers to navigate more easily

It also allows easy scanning. Which is what your online readers want.


2. Use short sentences

The longer the sentence, the harder it is to take in.


Yes, grammar and formatting does help. But only so much when your sentence is long.


Take these two sentences as an example.

  1. Writing content for digital consumption is more than just the formatting and the words you choose, with long sentences often making the reader re-read the sentence to take in the meaning and it makes it harder for them to scan. = 1 sentence, 228 characters, 40 words.

  2. Writing for digital mediums is more than formatting. More than the words you choose. Long sentences are harder to take in. And to scan. = 4 sentences, 31 characters and 6 words on average (per sentence)


These sentences are about the exact same topic. Presenting the exact same points. However, breaking them up helps you take in the information easier. It also (surprise, surprise) makes it more scannable.


How many characters should you be aiming for? Well, according to Buffer best practice is between 40 - 55 characters.


Use the same rule for headlines and page titles. The shorter the better! Incorporating key words into your headings is also important. But that's a whole new topic (and post) for another day.


3. Use dot points

Dot points are not just for lists. They're great to share information in bite-sized form.


What could you move to dot points?

  • Paragraphs with lists of information

  • Sections that detail steps or a process

  • Key points that are collected across multiple sentences

Dot points:

  • Allow readers to scan more easily

  • Create more white space on the page

  • Give the information greater importance

  • Make it easier for key facts to be digested


4. Use infographics, videos and images

People are visual beings. In fact, 90% of information is processed visually. The brain also processes images 60,000 times faster than text.


This should be no surprise with the rise of multimedia. Video and images are taking over. So why would you only use text when communicating online?


Think of ways you could:

  • Use an infographic instead of a paragraph or to highlight key points

  • Introduce images to make it visually engaging

  • Use a short video instead of detailed or technical copy


These are just a few tips to get you started. At the time I wrote this, there were 1.8 billion websites world wide. So it’s important to write for your reader. Think about how they want to consume information. Not how you want to present it. After all, it should always be about your customer.


Because if you’re not doing that, your competitor is.



Not sure where to start?

Writing website copy can be overwhelming. Especially if words are just not your thing. That's where a website copywriter (like me) can help.


>> Let's create some awesome content for your website.



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