Copy is often the last thing that is considered when creating a website. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new design and how the site will function. Writing considered content will improve the usability of your site and allow users to find things quickly and easily.
As with many areas of website production if you consider your audience you will be on the right track. Who will be visiting the site? What will they be doing? What do you want them to do? Try to structure your content around the answers to these questions. Allow users to find key information quickly and easily.
Studies have shown that website users scan web pages rather than reading every word. For that reason it is important for the page to be written so that the eye can scan it easily. Using devices like bulleted lists can help users to find what they want quickly. This is a key purpose of copy on websites. If users are unable to find what they are looking for they will leave your site.
One of the most common mistakes of writing copy for the web is that it is simply too long. Users are impatient. They are not interested in reading pages and pages about the history of your organisation. Think what your users are looking for and respond by writing targeted and brief copy.
Threading links through your copy allows users to quickly jump around the site. Do not saturate your content with links but if you think that there is an item of interest somewhere else on the site include it.
As users scan rather than read in a linear fashion you can often communicate more quickly using graphical elements. If the page features a download use a graphic to show it. Users will recognise that the page has a download more quickly than reading dense copy and searching for a link.
Have an update or suggestion for this article? You can edit it here and send me a pull request.
Listening to BBC Radio with mpv
The BBC publishes high quality 320 kbps HLS AAC streams that can be used to listen to radio from the command-line using mpv. Here are the URLs and some aliases to start listening quickly.
Vim: So long Pathogen, hello native package loading
Vim 8 added a native way to load third-party packages. This means, for me at least, there is no longer any need to use a third party plugin helper like Pathogen.
Linux and Unix more command tutorial with examples
Tutorial on using more, a UNIX and Linux command for viewing the contents of a file or files one screen at a time. Examples of viewing a file, viewing multiple files, searching using regular expressions and opening the file in a text editor.