On the average web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during their visit; 20% is more likely. People don’t want to work to understand something and the ease of hitting the back button limits the amount they are willing to read to understand or become engaged in your content. Can a user get the gist of your message via a quick scan of your website? If not, it’s time for some spring cleaning of your content. Here are some methods for polishing and crafting the messages on your website so they are easily digestible.
Create a Content Hierarchy
You likely have several key messages within your site content, but which messages are most important? It takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression. What do you want to catch the user’s attention first? Then second, third, etc. Utilizing different sizes, colors, images, and font weights can give users a roadmap to digesting your website content. Creating a content hierarchy gives you control over how your end-user receives your message. That’s right, without even speaking to your audience you can tell them what to read on your site and in what order.
Guide the User Toward an Action
What do you want a user to do when they land on your website? Believe it or not, users want to be directed. If they have to figure out what to do, they get frustrated and leave. It’s also important to ask users what they want to do- why did they come to your site? If they have a goal in mind, fulfilling that should be easy via your content. Clear call to actions* are necessary to guide your site visitors to your (and their) desired conversion. Do you want them to sign up for a course, make a purchase, or simply contact you? Your content should guide website visitors to intended actions. Call to actions need to be direct, clear and noticeable.
Less is More When it Comes to Copy
Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content. We’ve said it before- most people don’t want to read. Embedding messages in long blocks of wordy content will likely lead to your end-user missing the messages you want to convey. It’s important to display content in a more digestible way. Use one to three-word headers to define key concepts and try bulleted phrases within copy in place of long paragraphs. Transform lengthy paragraphs into three to five-word statements that can be highlighted in their own section with photos or supporting copy.
Provide Clear Navigation
If it’s hard for users to find their way around your site, they are going to hit the back button and leave. The majority of users (94%) say easy navigation is the most important website feature. Not being able to navigate through your site to what they are looking for will create frustration and a high bounce rate.* There is an unspoken rule that you should get your user to where they want to go within three clicks. However, it is important to note, users are willing to click more if they feel they are making progress. Evaluate the content on all your pages and consider how different users look for information. Some will look at on-page content, others will use the traditional menu- consider all thought processes. For instance, some users will want to search by product category, i.e. chairs, others by use case, i.e. office furniture. And try asking the following questions regarding the pages on your website:
- Can any pages be combined?
- Do all these pages need to be pages, or could they be content highlighted on some of your main, more important pages?
- Does the current menu structure address your users' needs? Does the menu make finding content the user is looking for easy?
- What do you want users to do?
- Does your menu help users take these actions?
Think About Your Page Names
One crucial component of effective navigation is the clarity of the page names on your site. Make sure the page names inform the user as to the content they will be seeing. You have to strike a balance between being too broad and being too specific. An example of broad page names would be “services” and “resources.” What service do you offer? Resources for whom? What kind of resource? If service is a label for child pages with more clear naming conventions, then it works. But if services is the page name, can you be more specific as to the type of service you offer?
An example of labels that are too specific (or generic depending upon how you think), from a popular makeup brand, is included below. This brand is likely using internal lingo in their navigation, meaning a user has to have brand knowledge to even grasp their site roadmap.
It takes roughly 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that ultimately determines whether they’ll stay or leave. If your target audience isn’t immediately thrust into a user-friendly content experience on your site, they will bounce. Effective content structure is critical to capture, engage and convert your audience. For help polishing & crafting your message, contact 10 Pound Gorilla today.
Glossary of Terms
*Call to Action- A CTA is a prompt on a website that tells the user to take some specified action that generally takes the form of a button or hyperlink.
*Bounce Rate- Bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of people who land on your website and have no engagement with it, such as visiting other pages, clicking buttons, etc.