The Web Writer

3 key features of a compelling web page

3 key features of a compelling web page

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Isn’t it tough to stand out on the web these days?

Prospective buyers are ruthless in their research, jumping from site to site on their quest for the ideal product, spoilt for choice but starved of time.

Maybe you’ve upped your game and made your website look great and load fast, stretch and shrink to fit the screen of PCs to smartwatches. But your visitors still rocket away from your site faster than you can say ‘’welcome’’, and you suspect your content is the culprit.

So what will make your content stand out from the rest?

Many techniques for online writing work better on some websites than others. Hiring a professional (nudge, nudge) is a sure-fire way to utilise these. But there’s 3 basic things that will improve any webpage and keep visitors in your orbit:

1. Make an impact from the start

Your title is THE most important part of your content. Get this wrong, and click. You won’t see your visitor for dust. The content you worked so hard on won’t get a first glance. A great title is short and snappy, and does two things:

  • Informs your visitor what the page is about
  • Inspires them to read it

To make things more tricky, it’s generally agreed your keyword – ideally a long tail keyword – needs to be in your title as well, to boost your Google ranking. It’s worthwhile taking the time to write several versions of your title and choosing the best. If you need inspiration, Jeff Goins has a handy formula for building a great title.

Next, your opening lines need to hook your visitor.

When writing your webpage, it makes sense to pack the most important stuff to the top. Why? A study tracking eye movement found we scan a webpage in an ‘F’ pattern, paying most attention to the first lines.

Tell visitors what they want to know straightaway, and go into detail later. If your visitor leaves early, you’ll be remembered for what matters. Ask yourself: what if you only had one sentence to tell your visitor why your product benefits them? Make this your first sentence.

2. Break it into bitesize chunks

When we first visit a webpage, we don’t read the content.

No, really.

Actually we scan it. Our eyes dart across the page, absorbing only the parts most useful to us.

We scan because spending time online is hard work – there’s screen glare to contend with, so many potential sites to visit, ads, alerts and distractions galore. Remember the last time you opened a webpage to be faced with an imposing wall of text? Chances are you hit reverse, pronto.

Guy reeling from wall of textSo, help your visitor by making it really easy for them to find what they need. If they can hoover up the good stuff in a hurry they’ll thank you for it.

Write concisely, Killing fluffy adjectives. Short paragraphs of one to four sentences break up your text into manageable pieces and creates a frame of whitespace – the empty space without text or image – in which your text will stand out.

Signpost topics with clear, brief headings. Your visitor probably won’t have the time or patience to decipher a clever pun. And if you’ve got key information for your visitor, make it bold.

3. Give it personality

We tend to use formal language when we want to appear more credible. It’s a habit that’s been drilled into us since school. But online, overly formal writing makes us seem less credible – even pompous! It’s much more helpful to be clear and genuine, to write as you’d talk to someone.

While we’ve got to pay homage to the Great Google Engine (hello, Google), it’s people we’re connecting with, not robots. When you’re writing, consider: how do you want your visitor to feel? Happy? Inspired? Amused?

Your tone of voice, and the words you choose to create emotion will engage your visitor. Emotion is what makes people remember you, and what motivates people to buy.

Of course, you don’t have to be your visitor’s creepy admirer. But it’s important to show you understand their needs, and to let your visitor know, person to person, how your product or service meets them.

So there are the 3 ingredients of a great webpage – impact, clarity, and connection. Use these and your visitors will enjoy their stay. They’ll be more likely to hang around, bookmark you, and buy.

What do you think? Have you got a tip that’s worked wonders for your content? Tell all in the comments below.

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