This is the second post in a series which takes a closer look at the entire web design process. If you missed our first post on the visual elements of a web design plan you can find it here:
If the visual elements are the framework of your home then your content (the words, pictures, videos and forms which fill the pages) are the furniture and paintings on the wall. So let’s take a look at a few rules for creating and managing your content.
The first thing people think of when we talk about web content is the basic copy on the primary pages. This is a place many writers go wrong, assuming web visitors are viewing web content in the same way they casually browse or read a printed brochure.
These two audiences, on and offline readers, are not the same. When people are reading your web copy they are in a more active state. They have specifically navigated to your website from a search or a link, or directly typing in your web address. They are looking for specific information so answer those questions first. In case you are curious, those questions typically don’t include how long you have been in business or what your mission statement is. Customers want to make sure you can solve their problem. Your company history only becomes relevant once they are convinced you can solve their issues. Make it easy by giving them web copy which can be scanned.
Visitors are looking for specific information so answer those questions first. Those questions typically don’t include how long you have been in business or what your mission statement is. Customers want to make sure you can solve their problem. Your company history only becomes relevant once they are convinced you can solve their issues.
Make the process of discovering the answers easy by giving readers web copy which can be scanned:
- Write short paragraphs. Think about what happens to a long paragraph on a mobile device. It seems to go on forever, but your readers attention span doesn’t.
- Break up text with headlines so readers can scan the page, jumping to the information they are seeking.
- Simple language and short sentences make it easy to grasp ideas quickly.
- Put the most important information first. Your web page isn’t an essay or a brochure so give the readers the highlights and you can provide more detail later on in the document.
For more on the subject of web copy check out this post:
The purpose of your blog is to do what your core pages can’t, that is to provide a steady stream of fresh content. Because these pages have a different purpose, there are slightly different rules for blogs than static web pages. Your blog gives you the freedom to explore niche topics, provide updates, company news, employee profiles and a bit of the company’s personality. While your blog writing still needs to be simple, easy to read and well organized, it can be less factual and more story-like. A blog post can ramble a bit as you answer questions which only a small portion of your audience will are about.
The word count of a blog needs to be a minimum of 500 words to really catch the attention of search engines. Remember to use focused keywords in the page titles and meta descriptions to help visitors and search engines find the specific post.
Looking for more ideas about how to create great blog posts? You can find it here.
Pictures, GIFs and Video
Pictures are more important than ever – Say goodbye to cheesy stock images and take a few of your own. Select images which are relevant and original. Then take the time to name them correctly. From the all important home page image to featured images on blog posts, the images you choose will be used again and again across the web so invest time in the right one.
So what’s next for images? Animated GIFs seem to be exploding. They are fun on social media but distracting on web pages so use with caution one. One well designed GIF will grab the attention of a viewer, but too many on one page can be a dizzying.
Don’t forget the Video
If pictures speak louder than words, then videos shout. From simple Facebook live style updates to polished professional interviews and everything in between there seems to be no end to the Internet’s appetite for video.
Don’t be haphazard in your approach. Simple videos, shot from your cell phone are fine for blog posts, but not your home page. As you create a video, think about how it will be used.
For more on this topic check out this blog post.
Getting ready for your web redesign? Grab a copy of our planning guide and get started today.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm