People do not read content on the web, they skim it. The tips below will help you create and structure your web pages to accommodate this behavior.
A good web page does the following:
- Provides a label that is clear and concise
- Presents the conclusion first
- Speaks to the target audience
- Contains short paragraphs, sub-headers and bullet-lists of information
- Provides numerous calls to action
- Links to similar content or resources
Clearly identify the page name
Do not get fancy when naming your web pages – users don't want to guess what type of content resides on a page when browsing for content. Instead of naming your webpage 'Behind the Curtains', simply name it 'Our Company'. The latter is clear, concise, and user-friendly.
Write the conclusion of the page first
Our natural instinct is to skim a webpage to locate the subject matter we want, so put the conclusion first – users will know right away if the content is relevant. The topic sentence of the DC Web Designers’ ‘About Us’ page is a good example: ‘DC Web Designers is a high-end web design shop offering custom content management solutions for all business sizes’. This direct approach eliminates wasted time, and lets users know exactly what they’ll find on the page.
Speak to your target audience
One of the most important aspects to a user-friendly website is content relevant to those reading it. Many organizations make a critical mistake by writing content loaded with industry jargon and insider acronyms. This poor technique will leave your target feeling left out.
Short Paragraphs / Bulleted Lists / Sub Headers
Write your paragraphs with three or four sentences, than use bulleted lists as much as possible – users can skim content much faster when it’s broken into small chunks. Start each paragraph with a new sub-header that uses a larger font size (and maybe color) to draw users’ attention.
Calls to action located throughout the page
Whenever you can, lead a user to additional content about a topic. Write a short paragraph about say, a widget, then follow it up with links that direct to web pages or documents about the topic:
- Download our whitepaper
- View Widget Benefits and Features
- See similar products
Links to similar content or resources
It’s very useful when a company offers additional resources at the end of the webpage. It’s usually a short, bulleted list that contains links to other web pages or documents related to the content the user just read. It’s also always a good idea to practice what you preach….