9 Quick Tips for More Usable Web Content

By some estimates, 95% of web users don’t read 80% of web site content. How, then, can you improve your site so that your visitors will have a better user experience? According to Gail Anastas, GMA Writing Services, “The most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your web site happens before you even pick up a pen. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to accomplish with this site? With this page?’ The design and the content should naturally flow from that.”

1. Break It Up

Present relevant information in small chunks for easier reading and comprehension. Remember that visitors to your site have much to distract them…emails, IMs, ringing phones…you name it. Create it so that if they get called away from your site, when they return they can easily find where they left off.

2. Emphasize What’s Important

Use relevant subheads. Since people scan web pages rather than read word-for-word, subheads will help them find the information they want quickly and easily. If there is something within the content that you don’t want readers to miss, use visual cues to draw attention to it. Bold or italicize or use color to make it pop, or pull the information out into a sidebar.

3. Use Readable Fonts

Fancy fonts may stand out, but if your visitors can’t read your content, what’s the point? A sans serif font like Helvetica is very legible and won’t strain your reader’s eyes. Unique fonts work in banners or graphics, but the actual content should be clean and crisp.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of White Space

There’s nothing more discouraging than facing a web page filled with dense copy. White space gives your readers a place to rest their eyes, and makes your content easier to scan through.

5. Follow the 10% Rule

One of Stephen King’s best tips in his book “On Writing” is that your “Second Draft = First Draft – 10%”. Make your copy concise and to the point. Less is more when it comes to writing for the web.

6. Use Links for More Information

Using links for readers who want more detailed information not only keeps your content from becoming too long and complicated, but also draws interested visitors deeper into your site.

7. Make It Easy to Ask Questions

Provide readers with a way to contact you for more information or clarification, and have it available on every page of your site. It can be a link to an email address, or a link to a page with a contact form.

8. Update Content on a Regular Basis

Maintain your web site as a unique and dynamic path to connection with your clients. Announcing new products, services and speaking engagements will keep your site fresh, raise your position in search engines, and generate more traffic.

9. Proofread!

Typos and grammatical errors can be incredibly distracting and can immediately take the focus off of your content, not to mention make your business look unprofessional. Spellcheck can only catch so many errors, so have a fresh set of eyes read the content before going live with it.

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