(well dressed) Content is King
Of course the adage that ‘Content is King’ is as true as ever – but how you present your content is just as important as what you have to say!
Let’s talk about the web design process for a moment. When your website underwent a new design, a lot of time and consideration went into each element; everything had a purpose, both in design and functionality. It all had to make sense to the end goal. This filters all the way down to your individual page content. If you are taking over your own content development after your site goes live, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Make a plan
Writing for the web is much different than writing for a flyer, brochure, newspaper article, etc. So make a plan first. Many will copy and paste pages used for other announcement or content avenues, and when directly copied over, it doesn’t always translate well. Determine what is important and how your visitors may be looking to interpret the information you have available for them. You can still copy information from another source but make the necessary revisions and formatting for the web!
Keep it concise
Technology has allowed us to access information almost immediately. We all expect everything ‘right now’. So give your audience what they need to know quickly and efficiently. This may mean breaking down the most imperative data into bullet points, or providing that mission critical info in a brief overview at the top of the page or call out box. You can provide more explanation and details below, but keep in mind your target audience and what their goals are when coming to your site!
Consistency in your tone, formatting and approach will keep your message cohesive and gives your site professional authority. This can be harder to do when you have multiple people working on the site, which is where a branding guide can be helpful. Everything from how you refer to your organization – abbreviations vs. formal title; usage of heading styles or other formatting tools, etc. are specified so that everyone is following the same set of rules.
Format your content accordingly
Nothing is more daunting then looking at a large looming block of text! Back to point number one, people are usually looking for something specific. Giving them the tools to skim through your information and find what they are looking for, is going to make your site much more valuable to them. When we design sites, we give you tools for setting heading styles, breakout quotes, and inserting horizontal rule or thematic breaks when separating ideas. Use these tools to create a solid presentation of your information.
Use Visuals to support your message
Another way to break up long entries of information is to use supporting images and graphics. The key here is to make sure that those images live up to their purpose.
- They should be used sparingly – either to highlight a key point or to demonstrate an idea or instruction that is hard to follow without a visual.
- They should complement the look of the site. If you use a lot of bright bold design, make sure your supporting images match that tone. It seems like a no-brainer, but photos used should be crisp, clear and strong in detail. Blurry or poorly lit cell photos, gimmicky graphics or old scanned in images won’t add the interest or credibility to the information you are trying to convey.
- Size your images properly for the page and surrounding content. A headshot may not need to take up the full width of your page – it will be a jarring pause in your content and make it difficult to scroll past on mobile. However, an important photo or infographic, may need to span the full width in order to view the intricate detail.
- Don’t replace large amounts of important text with a graphic. You may have designed an awesome flyer to post up around town about an event you’re hosting but posting your flyer in place of actual well formatted text is a big no-no. We are always thinking about responsive environments, and your cool 8.5x11 poster is going to be really hard to read when your viewers are on a mobile device. Things like phone numbers and email address that would be clickable as text based items also become useless when embedded in an image.
Everything isn’t urgent
Watch the use of CAPS and extra punctuation marks. Remember that items in all caps represent shouting and over doing exclamation points may become irritating for the user. When you meet a client face to face, you aren’t yelling and throwing an aggressive sales pitch at them non-stop – so don’t let your content take that type of tone either.
Writing up good information just simply isn’t enough for your site. Keeping your content the well-dressed king it deserves to be is going to require a little extra time. It’s time well spent though when you consider that your audience may not stick around to fumble through poorly executed page layouts! And if you are struggling to find the time, Terrostar offers a Web Partnership to help manage and edit your content. Contact us if you need some help!