How Well do your Web pages communicate to your visitors?
By John Alexander
Do you think your Web pages say
exactly what you mean to say to your visitors. Obviously, you
probably think they are communicating well to the visitor and
if your Web site is working well, generating leads or making
plenty of sales, then perhaps you are communicating
For the first part of this article I want to talk to those of
you who may NOT be doing so well with your Web
Most of the time, people like to talk about the search engines
and better visibility but once you begin to gain that
visibility, the next question that presents itself is why are
more people not buying from me?
Let's start by talking a little
bit about the writing style of your Web pages.
When you write for the Web you want to include a variety of
words that like building blocks, form a proper flowing dialogue to
communicate the message that carries the meaning you intend to deliver.
So what's the
big deal with writing dialogue?
The fact is that most of us who
were educated in the public school system, were taught with a
focus on spelling, sentence
structure, grammar and some writing and yet very few of us were ever
encouraged or really taught how to write for the sake of "communication."
Indeed we were taught to write to "sound intelligent" which
usually meant a principle of the bigger the words we use the
better. But in the world of Web copy, we find that most
readers do not want to look at a lot of extraneous content
that detracts from the message.
In fact what most Web users want
is just to just simply understand exactly what the meaning or benefit of
the message is to us. Is there something here for me or is
there nothing here for me. The sooner your visitor understands
the meaning of what you are saying on your Web page, the
sooner they are likely to interact or respond to your call to
Often when you glance at a Web page, your eyes may not even
know where to begin if it has a poor layout or is poorly
written. But a page that is well crafted usually has a good
solid headline that reads well and immediately gets the reader
flowing into the message.
Writing Tip 1. The power of a good headline delivers on
benefits and understanding.
Often a good headline is written to eliminate confusion and
add some punch to exactly what the Web page is all
Many professional writers spend as much as 20% to 50% of their
time crafting their main headline because they know the
importance it holds. Your headline not only starts the page
but it may often be reflected in your Title Tag which is also
what users see in the search results.
Tip 2. Learn how to cut down on the long-winded introductions
and get right to the valuable content.
So often when people first start creating their Web content it's
nearly like they are trying to fill up empty space. In the
early days of the Web, the business owner might think to
themselves "I need to come up with several pages of
content for my Web site so perhaps I'll load my site up with
the things that we have already produced."
Then you often found that early Web sites were loaded with
"filler material," corporate brochure material,
mission statements and other existing material that really was
of very little interest to the user. The only trouble is, that
your Web site needs to be built up with content that is
genuinely useful to the visitor and highly valuable content
based on the needs that your searching customers are looking
for. The cost of creating fresh, original, high quality
content has it's price, but you are paying an even greater
price if you are filling your Web site with extraneous low
quality content that is just taking up space and distracting
Writing Tip 3. Learn how to shift from a traditional
"print related" writing style to a "voice
related" writing style.
We don't speak to each other the way we normally write. By the
term "writing for voice" I am referring to writing
similar to the way a professional broadcaster writes for their
listeners. Have you ever noticed the difference between copy
for traditional print and copy written "to be spoken by
voice?" The difference is in the delivery and the style
of writing. Printed copy tend to be written with much less
customer focus and because it is in print, the reader has the
option of going over a story a second time. Broadcast copy
that is written for voice, is written with much greater focus
on the listener because it is written to be spoken only once.
If it is not communicated well the first time, you've missed
it because on the radio you generally can't rewind or replay
what you've just heard.
When you write your Web copy, particularly if it is a sales
letter, learn how to write your copy so it is extremely
customer focused. Instead of talking so much about your
services, talk "to the reader." Test your copy to
see whether it reads like the voice of a friend talking to
Instead of: saying "Our years of service," talk
about the same benefits using the words "you" or
Instead of: "Our 20 year guarantee," you might talk
about "a guarantee that....gives you 20 years of peace of
Instead of: "We can," make it "you
Instead of: "We will," make it "you will."
Focus on words that allow all of the emphasis to be on the
reader NOT your company.
You, you're, yours, you will, you can enjoy, you can
experience, you can benefit by
more general writing tips specifically for your fashioning
your Web page content:
For readability, avoid
complex sentences. Try to phrase your thoughts as simple
Don't make your paragraphs
too long - but make them smaller and easy to absorb.
Try to work on eliminating
sentences if they are unnecessary or don't contribute
Try to always write in
Choose either Verdana or
else an Aria font for easy reading.
Always write dark text on a
light background for easiest reading.
(Light text on a black or dark background is harder on the
eyes and tends to sparkle.)
Try to avoid using industry
specific acronyms and/or jargon.
Links in your body copy are
favorable providing what you are linking to is relative to
your readers interests.
(For example linking to someone's blog post or to a
resource or a source that your article is referencing.)
Remember that there are
different types of content and they each require a little
Example: writing press releases need to be newsworthy or
related to hard news.
Example: writing a sales letter - needs strong customer
Example: writing articles - should always be written for
the reader first
Tip 5. Remember your message needs a strong call to
times we can publish something but once we come to a
conclusion, it's like we forget to tell the reader what we
would like them to do next. If you don't simply include an
instruction at the end of your content, don't assume the user
will ever take any action at all. It sounds simple but many
people forget this simple step.
What do you want your customer to do at the end of your page?
Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Don't forget
to tell them.
Do you want to give them more resources? Then give them a link
and make it easy for them.
Do you want them to call you? Then tell them to walk over to
the phone and give us a call at 1-800-Whatever
As you work
on writing your Web content to better convey useful, high
value information that is of genuine interest to your readers,
you'll also find that the search engines will also gravitate
towards favoring your content thanks to the high tech
components of artificial intelligence that are working in the
background. Spend time your time building useful pages that
satisfy the reason why your customers are searching the Web in
the first place and reap the benefits of having rich content
that will stand the test of time.