Five Essential Website Writing & Design Standards

Five most important web page writing and design conventions.

The importance of your presentation is equivalent to that of your content. The world’s greatest content will never be read if the presentation is so poor that no one stays long enough to read it. If you maximize the usability of your website, your visitors will stay longer, read more, and make more purchases.

If the purpose of your website is to educate your visitors and/or persuade them to take a specific action (such as making a purchase), then you should strongly consider implementing the following design and writing conventions…

1. Start each page with the most important information.
2. Use Informational Link Text to Provide Details.
3. Write Scannable Pages.
4. Use Simple Website Designs.
5. Use clear, consistent navigation on your website.

1. Start each page with the most important information.

People are impatient; they will quickly scan your page and leave if they become bored. Place your best and most essential content near the page’s top.

Design your layout so that nothing relegates your most vital content below the “page fold.” This is your “Prime Property” — do not waste it. Large logos, unnecessary graphics, and ambiguous headlines are all a waste of your valuable real estate.

Each page should begin with a brief summary or table of contents. Place the most recent products at the top of the list or in a “What’s New” section.

2. Use Relevant Link Text to Deliver Information

Web users decide within seconds if your page is worth reading. When you use generic, content-neutral language in your link text, you miss out on a valuable opportunity to provide information. (Also, visually impaired web users frequently instruct their computer to read the link text aloud; therefore, “Click here” is ineffective for them.)

The words used in your anchor text should imply what the reader will find when they click on the link and assist them in deciding whether or not to click. You can make your links more informative by including a blurb after them

3. Brief Summaries of Web Pages

A “Blurb” is a brief paragraph that provides a preview of the page to which a link leads. You are currently reading a blurb. If a summary convinces a reader to click the link, then it is effective. Create scannable pages
Books and magazines are formatted for sequential reading offline: Beginning at the beginning, you read to the conclusion.

Online text is not necessarily sequential; it consists of smaller chunks of text that are frequently not read sequentially. Therefore, each page of your website must make sense to a visitor who arrived from a search engine or did not view the previous page.

The use of meaningful, informative headers and subheadings, bulleted lists, and keywords in bold font helps readers scan the page efficiently.

4. Use Simple Website Designs.

Your visitors did not come to view your elaborate images. They came seeking pricing or availability information, contact details or driving directions, or perhaps they’re just interested in technical specifics…

Unless your website is about cool graphic effects, I can guarantee that your visitors do not care about your spinning logo or dancing unicorns, or even if your menu buttons blink or change background images on mouse-over.

Web-savvy visitors have self-trained to ignore advertisements. Anything that flashes, shimmers, blinks, or dances will not receive the proper attention.

The more such elements you include on a page, the harder it will be for the reader to locate the desired information. They will never return if subjected to excessive quantities of this. Use images with care. Every image on your page slows it down, sometimes slightly and sometimes significantly.
* Use smaller images whenever possible. * For large image collections, use an index with thumbnails that users can click to view in full size. * Utilize an image editor to reduce image file sizes.

5. Use clear, consistent navigation on your website.

Next to pages that take an eternity to load (and pop-ups), the most common complaint from website visitors is complicated and/or inconsistent website navigation…
* Use the same menu on all of your pages. * Use a logical link hierarchy, grouping related items together. * Be crystal clear with your link titles and descriptions. * Use the same menu on all of your pages. Use text links as often as possible. If image links are necessary, use the em>alt=”link destination”/em> element.

A website with more than ten or fifteen pages may not require a link from each page to every other page… you can link to each section from each page, but each section should have its own “Table Of Contents.”

Every page must contain links to the homepage and site map. (If you have fewer than ten pages, you may omit a site map, but your home page should contain a text link to each page for search engines.)

Following these five simple guidelines will aid in the success of your website.

People will read more of your content and are more likely to take the action you desire if pages load more quickly and information is easier to locate.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.