I know what you are thinking:
“Yeah, yeah, been there, done that: stellar headlines, subheads, lists, short paragraphs, beautiful images, videos… I already know how to optimize my website content for efficient communication with the audience.”
But face it:
Most guides and tips on content optimization are so general that, as a result, we see tons of identical texts saying nothing about brand identity, message, a tone of voice, and unique selling proposition.
It’s challenging for visitors to scan your content: given that reading online is 25% slower than from print and people read only 20% of the words you share, the chances are paltry that they will remember your sales or blog texts if you establish them the same your competitors do.
The below checklist will guide you through perfect text optimization for visitors to read your content and remember your startup among dozens of others.
Table of Contents
Use it only if you are going to publish a long read at your startup website. Otherwise, it will look awkward for a reader to see a table of contents for a 1,000-word text.
That’s what it looks:
It consists of headings and subheads so readers could decide which chapter they want to miss or check right away. Establish it as a list of links to page elements. For that, use HTML tags such as “toc:”
Sentences and Paragraphs
Make sure to write sentences of different length in your texts: it improves rhythm and therefore readability. One sentence can be short. Another one will be longer. And make the third one so wordy that only Leo Tolstoy fans would get its point. (It’s meant to be a joke; as we all know, Tolstoy did love writing lo-o-ong sentences in his books.)
Each paragraph is a home for one thought (point), and it serves a purpose. Finish it once your thought is finished. Traditional copywriters also use transitional phrases to keep readers sliding down the text.
As well as sentences, paragraphs of your content need to be of different length.
No particular numbers determine the rules of writing here, like “sentences should be of 3-5 words” or “make paragraphs no longer than 4-5 lines.” Don’t think of it while writing; concentrate on context instead.
Bullet and Numbered Lists
Use lists to not overweight sentences with narration. Here you can:
- specify benefits of your product or service
- tell about a process steps
- provide a conclusion of the information you shared
Bullet lists look nice when consisting of three and more points, while numbered lists may have two points.
Use numbered lists when writing about “X tips” or some step-by-step guide, so readers could get round to desired points. In other words, you need numbered lists when the sequence of actions matter. Otherwise, bullet lists will be okay.
Lists are more psychologically comfortable for the brain: they order thoughts and make all deeds clear.
When you need to write several sentences for each point of your list, make the first one bold. For example:
- Wash hands before a meal. It will help to avoid…
- Don’t cross the road at busy intersections. Otherwise, a car can…
- Make the first sentence of your list bold. This way, you’ll invite readers attention, especially if you describe one point with several sentences.
Avoid finishing your text with a list. It arises the sensation of unspoken words.
Charts and Infographic
As well as graphs and tables, these content types can save you from writing tons of vague words, hard for readers to perceive. One look at a chart — and it’s clear what an author wanted to say:
Canva is a great resource to help you with charts. As for infographic, it can become a separate, independent content piece if you apply rigor to creating it. Consider templates from Venngage to craft beautiful infographics for your website.
Images, Podcasts, and Videos
These elements make your texts visually pleasing. (Thank you, Captain Obvious!) More than that, we all remember a copywriting mantra “Show, don’t tell.”
Stephen Kings approves:
That’s why he has drawn a monster, rather than described it by words.
Your screen shots need to be of high quality. Don’t use stock photos, — what a mauvais ton in 2018! — especially when writing for your business blog. Align picture to center.
Podcasts and videos influence Dwell Time and CTR of your website content. Embed them where appropriate to attract readers: 90% of us are visual beings, so visitors will appreciate the engaging visual content on your website.
Top influencer on the web, according to The Wall Street Journal, Neil Patel spends around $144,000 on video this year. And explains why you need to follow his lead:
- Videos convert 34% higher.
- Videos grow your company revenue 49% faster.
- By 2021, 82% of all consumer traffic will be video-based (according to Cisco).
And don’t forget to add some witty descriptions to pictures or just explain what’s happening there.
Links and Acronyms
Links are must for your web texts to increase time visitors spend on your startup website. Format them accordingly:
- Use anchors. They need to be clear for readers to understand what they will find when clicking the link.
- Underline them. Or, make them of a different color. It’s hard to find links in texts if they’re not highlighted.
- Animate them. Once a reader hovers a cursor over the link, it must change into a hand with a pointer finger.
- Use the “title” attribute. Write some explanation or funny text there so readers could see it when hovering over the link.
The “title” attribute works for acronyms, either. They don’t lead readers anywhere but just decipher abbreviations, so make them visible in your texts: underline with a dashed line, for example.
Why so serious?:-) Feel free to use smileys and emojis in your web text but make sure you don’t overdo it. This trick is not for you if you have been blogging for a quite long time already but never used smileys before. Readers may not understand such an experiment.
And avoid most common blunders of content usability that make you lose readers: words matter, but poor formatting can kill even the best and most creatively written texts.