Web copy is scanned. Not read.
1. Put your most important information first
Information that’s most important to your web visitors is often a simple statement of what you do. Once they understand what you do, they will dig deeper.
2. Don't try to be clever
Your site visitors are in a hurry, they are likely checking out several websites at once. Being clever requires people to think. And asking people to think, doesn’t work on the web because web visitors don’t have time to think. So keep your web copy as simple as possible.
3. Write for scanners
"[What most web visitors do] is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. – Steve Krug
- Page headline should communicate what you’re about
- Sub-headlines should summarize your key points
- Use easy-to-scan bullet point lists
4. Use familiar words
Use words people are looking for. We often like to make ourselves sound better than we are. We try to embellish what we do. We try to sound scientific, fancy or special. But your web visitor is looking for familiar words so they know if they are in the right place. Not sure if people search for "master of business administration" or "MBA" more often? Google Keyword Planner can help!
5. Make it easy to read
- Use short paragraphs – four sentences max
- Use short sentences – twelve on average
- Skip unnecessary words
- Avoid jargon, explain acronyms
- Avoid needless repetition
- Shorten your text
6. Expect people to arrive anywhere on your website
This is very important to know, most web visitors will not start reading at your homepage and continue onto other pages in your site. Most people search and click search results, which means they will arrive on any of your webpages.
- Each page should be easy to scan
- Each page should clarify to people where they are and what the page is about
- Each page should have a call to action telling people where to go next
- Don’t rely on your navigation bar to tell people what to do next. Include a button or link to guide people to take the next step. On each page.