Brain Waves Blog

A Tricky Exercise In Simplicity: Getting Your Content Right

Author: Webmastermind Team, Published: 2009-7-8

A Tricky Exercise In Simplicity: Getting Your Content Right

Writing for the Web is a balancing act that can be really difficult to get right. Outlined below are some guidelines on how you can get the most out of your website and ensure that information is getting to your customers as and when they want it.

  • RULE #1: KNOW YOUR USERS
    The audience for your website should reflect the target of your standard day-to-day business transactions. If your organisation is Business to Consumer (B2C) you should be aiming your website at your product/service's specific demographic. If it's a Business to Business company (B2B) you should aim it at the Business sector you hope to do business with.

    When you become confused about who your website is for (and try to provide information for more than one group) your website can become confusing too.
  • RULE #2: KEEP ON MESSAGE
    Content with relevance to only a very small number of clients can more often mean that the majority of clients encounter more dead-ends when browsing your site rather than adding value. To this extent, designing what information to put on your website can be very much a matter of playing the spread and identifying what information will benefit the most number of users.
  • RULE #3: "2 STEPS REMOVED"
    If your home page is essentially your springboard into the site (Step 0, if you like) then all the pages that are linked directly from your homepage are Step 1. Step 2 is therefore all the pages that are linked only from those pages in Step 1. If you have an abundance of pages that are only linked from pages in Step 2 (effectively a Step 3) then you're possibly providing too much detail about your organisation.
  • RULE #4: LESS IS MORE
    It takes 10 seconds for users to decide if they’ll succeed on your site. They'll assess the page navigation to determine where they on the site and where they can go, they'll make the decision about whether they like/trust your organisation, they'll decide whether reading the page will be worth their while and then they'll read the content that is on the page.

    The general rule I use is that you should aim to provide between 250 and 300 words on a page (if you're topping 500 words, you're widely off base).
  • RULE #5: START WITH A SUMMARY
    Preface your pages with a one or two sentence summary. This helps users determine whether this particular page is right for them and makes it easier for them to find what they're looking for.
  • RULE #6: MAKE CONTENT EASIER TO SCAN
    Feel free to use bullet points or bold formatting to help users focus in on certain key points in the text. Like an initial summary, this makes the pages easier to scan and helps users find what they’re looking for.




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