Usability through content: 5 top tips for good web copywriting

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  • May 4, 2011
Felicity Crouch

Felicity Crouch

Marketing Manager

Many businesses seem to focus on attracting traffic to their site without thinking of how to keep them there. The site’s content is often overlooked – usually trumped by focusing heavily on aesthetic – and not considered a priority when developing a new website.

However, the content and copy of your site has a huge impact on the overall user experience. By understanding the importance of your site’s content and taking measures to enhance it; you could experience a huge impact on your websites usability, and therefore its overall performance. We’ve come up with five tips to improve your site’s content and enrich the experience for your users.

1. Make sure it’s readable

It might seem obvious, but correct spelling and grammar is vital when writing for the web. Your site’s content reflects your brand, and by taking a relaxed approach to spelling and grammar, you‘re conveying an unprofessional and lazy image.

By not taking the time to check your content, potential customers won’t trust your service, and other businesses won’t take you seriously. It’s such a simple thing that can dramatically alter your brand image, so if you don’t have a professional copywriter; make sure you get someone other than the author of the content to check it again and again, to ensure there are no mistakes.

2. Extend your reach

It can be so easy to write content that’s only understood by you or others in your company or industry. By writing in this way, you are abandoning potential customers or clients outside of your professional environment, and therefore losing business.

This can be solved by writing for everyone; aim to reach the largest target audience possible by ensuring almost anyone can read and understand your content. Avoid using technical words or phrases, or create a site glossary which explains all the specialist terms used.

3. Keep it short

Everything about the web is fast; users want information instantly, and they’ll find it somewhere else if it isn’t staring them in the eye. It can be daunting for a user to come face-to-face with a huge piece of text, and will most likely put them off and cause them to leave the page.

Generally, a user has landed on your page because they want to find certain information, and they want to find it quickly. If you have a long piece of text, it’s best to allude to the gist or the answer of the text right at the beginning, rather than leaving it for the conclusion. This way, the user can determine whether the information they want is in fact on your page or site.

Text for the web should generally be a maximum of 3,000 characters, which is approximately 500 words. If your content is longer than this, it’s best to split the text into sections, or create more pages or articles so it’s clearly separated.

4. Split the content up

This also helps users find what they want quickly; if your content is well-divided into separate paragraphs with indicative sub-headings, the user will be able to swiftly assess whether what they’re looking for is on your site or not.

Researchers have found that reading from a computer screen requires 25% more time than reading from paper, due to unnatural posture and light emissions from the screen. A task that is already difficult can be made easier by splitting large chunks of text up into easily readable sections.

Long texts can be daunting to a user, and they don’t want to spend hours trying to pick out particular information from hundreds of lines of text. Make sure your content is to the point, and concise.

5. Write quality content

Many companies don’t use copywriters because they think they’re too expensive, and yet they’ll throw thousands of pounds at SEO. Now whilst the power of SEO in directing visitors to your site is unmatched, they’ll soon abandon it when they realise there’s a lack of real information or quality content.

Throwing in some keywords and repeated phrases just won’t cut it, your content needs to engage and interest the user. By adding real value for your customers or clients, you’re promoting customer loyalty, and they’ll be encouraged to visit again.

Conclusion:

Focusing on your content is vital to the success of your site, and is well-worth the effort. Whilst SEO is something we know plenty about, we also believe that quality content is an essential component to the usability of your site, and it’s something we can help with.

Good content engages your user, and encourages them to stick around. By improving the site experience for your user, you are promoting customer loyalty and return business, therefore enhancing the overall performance of your site.

If you want some advice on how to improve your content or usability, get in touch and speak to one of our experts.

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