A website is the cornerstone of a well-considered communications plan. It is often the first point of contact.
And you don't have to wait for a major site redesign to improve the way your website's written content serves those visitors. Ask yourself the following questions:
• How effectively does your site reflect your goals and mission?
• Is it compelling? Does it engage people and provide them with a call to action?
• Is the site's content current and easy to understand? Does it anticipate and answer users' questions?
If you have doubts, there are things you can do today to ensure your website content serves your mission. Some suggestions:
1. Create scannable copy. Short paragraphs, bulleted lists and sidebars present detailed information in a concise, easily digestible manner. Research shows that users read only about 20 percent of the words on a given page - and that they focus on information placed on the top and to the left of pages. So arrange your copy accordingly.
2. Use headings and subheads. Well-written headings and subheads serve several functions. They break up text into bite-size nuggets that can be read quickly. They outline what is to come. And they provide you with an opportunity to use the information-heavy words that improve search engine optimization
3. Avoid jargon. Use simple, direct phrasing in your headings and copy. Plain language presented in a conversational, friendly tone will ensure your meaning is clear.
4. Use links in copy to drive the user deeper into your site. Make it easy for users to find related information and resources. Links placed in bulleted lists allow information to be readily accessed. If you embed links in a paragraph, save them for the end of sentences. Research indicates users are more likely to read information that appears before the link than after it.
5. Update and delete content often. Regularly refreshing your website's content encourages return visits and improves SEO.