Writing for the Web: Declaring Page Content
Studies show that 80% of users do not scroll below the fold. Why? Because they aren’t confident the content below the fold will have the answer. When writing for the web, you need to give reassurance up front.
- Fact: Web users don’t read. They scan.
- Declaring page content helps convince users read more by confirming your content matches their expectations
- 4 tips on declaring page content
When you write for your website, declaring page content saves users time and guesswork by assuring them you have the answers to their question. Declaring page content tells users what to expect, then you deliver. They’ll thank you for it (by signing up for your newsletter, perhaps!).
Use a Descriptive Heading That Encapsulates the Content of the Page
Start with a pithy headline before you dive into the juicy details. One descriptive summary statement has the power to hook users and make them read more. Hook, then inform! Remember…
- Strive for clarity when writing a heading to kickoff the start of your page. Don’t rely on idioms or clever statements that can be misinterpreted.
- Keep it simple, but don’t settle for a one word headline.
- Stick to 8 – 12 words and never break headline onto three lines.
List Key Points at Top of Article
Lay out the gist of your article by writing a short list of key points at the top of the page. A brief “table of contents” will provide enough info to confirm their decision to click and reward them with relevant information. (See what I did in this post?)
- Bonus tip – Make list items jump links to the related point in article.
- Bonus Tip #2– Don’t use more than four key points!
Use Tabbed Content To Break Up Long Web Pages
Tabbed content makes long pages more manageable. It does two wonderful things:
- Declares page content at the top.
- Breaks long pieces of content up without necessitating extra pages.
Set Expectations for Total Read Time
Setting an estimated “time to read” gives users a heads up on their time investment. I’ve found this most useful for blog posts and thought leadership content. Stay away from this strategy for interior web pages.
Writing for the Web Starts With The Headline (and the subheadlines)
Writing websites that people can scan and get the big idea is important. Declaring page content with the headline, subheadlines, and lists can help make people want to read more of your website.