Your website isn’t a novel that visitors will read cover to cover. It’s more like a manual (like the kind that comes with your car or your fancy blender) - and nobody wants to read that shit! They want to find what they’re looking for and move on.
As business owners and freelancers, we love our products and services and the words we carefully craft to sell them. Will everyone feel this way? Nadda.
says web visitors look for information the way wild animals forage for food. They scan a page quickly, deciding to stay or go. It’s not our job to convince them to read every word. People are busy and information frazzled. We’re here to help them find what they need, make a decision, and act on it.
Big ideas, information hierarchy, headlines, and easy-to-scan lists all help them do this.
“Look at every word through the eye of the busy, impatient, skeptical (but also generous and curious) reader. Give him something worthy of the time and attention he’s giving you." -Steven Pressfield
Here are some ways to turn your content into an attractive snack:
1. Treat every page like a landing page
Search engines make it possible for people to land on any page of your site and skip around. Can they jump into the middle of your story and still know what’s going on? The answer should be yes!
2. Make information easy to find
Clear, non-cutesy, non-jargony navigation labels and breadcrumbs
will tell visitors if they’re in the right place or not. As they hunt for specific products or answers on your site, they'll stay as long as they feel like they’re moving closer to the goal.
3. Start with the most important information
Journalists call this the Inverted Pyramid
style. It helps scanners decide if the page houses the information they’re looking for and if they want stay put.
4. Make your content fun, interesting, useful, and findable
Don’t write what you like. Write what your audience wants to read. Know your audience
, what they need, and the language they use to find and talk about it. Good content isn’t enough. And neither is easy-to-find content. It’s gotta be quality and
easy to find.
“Users will leave if the content is good but hard to find, or if it's easy to find but offers only empty calories." -J. Nielsen
5. Develop a consistent voice and a flexible tone
Your voice is the expression of your brand. It represents what you offer and, more importantly, who you are. A consistent voice makes you familiar, sets you apart, and builds trust. An adaptable tone shows that you’re humans writing for humans. Once you have voice and tone standards in place, get them in writing
so all your content creators can be on the same page.
We’re selfish, lazy, ruthless internet beasts. We want everything, with little effort, right now. If your site doesn’t have what we’re looking for, we’ll move on to the next tasty treat.
Are you ready for us?