You may be wondering...
You may be wondering why it's important to talk about writing for the web. The simple answer is that we're not
flipping through newspapers or magazines anymore for most the content we consume. We're tapping screens and
swiping our fingers up, down, left, and right. What does this mean for what we're now currently used to?
“When creating sites, we act as though people are going to pour over every page...
but if we’re lucky, they just glance at each page, read some of the text, and click on
the first link that catches their interest.”
-Steve Krug, User Experience Professional, Author of “Don’t Make Me Think”
So what does this mean for "Creating Valuable Content?" At Vanguard, we’ve adopted and adapted the following questions when we create content for the web:
1. Is this appropriately placed in the navigation and/or context of your content?
Have you put in the correct metadata to help your users search for this page? Are the headers in the correct <h>tags? Do you have the correct tags on this content?
2. If I step back and squint, is there a clear "flow" to the page? KISS - Keep it simple! Have we chunked it out, numbered/bulleted it, and styled it correctly? Keep it short. Get rid of excess words and unnecessary happy-talk. Write for scanning - people will read more and deeper once they've found what they're looking for.
3. If I were to send this to a person in the target audience, will they understand it? Are you appropriately using non-text content types? How well are you articulating your ideas? Make sure to know your audience and respect their reading level. Think of the tone you want to convey to your audiences/personas. Active voice is usually better than passive voice.
4. Is there a clear follow-up to what I’ve written? Not all content has to be actionable, but you want to encourage an ecosystem within your content and website where your users are encouraged to travel and engage with your content. Is there a "Call To Action?" (CTA) Is there an invitation to share? Are there links to related content? Is there a summary of what to do?
5. Is this worth sharing or talking about? Give a reason to share! And make it easy to do so. But...Are you able to frame your content appropriately so that it's worth sharing or are you attempting to over-dramatize something that isn't?
Remember... You have content worth sharing, worth reading, worth consuming; especially for your users - don't make it tough for them to get to what they need from you. Time is always short, and we need to keep things simple, and direct.
If you want to learn more about improving your website copy, click here to view the FREE 30-minute webinar presented by Vanguard.
This blog post is available as a downloadable PDF here: WritingfortheWeb2020