What’s the simplest way to get a prospective customer into the sales cycle?
Write scannable web pages.Why?
Because if it’s written correctly, you get them to read ALL of what you wrote, which improves your chance of getting them into the sales funnel.
Think about it. When you’re reading online, do you read every word?
Instead, you scan.
As you scan, you’re looking for:
- visual clues – does this page relate to what i just clicked on?
- images that orient you – am I on the right page?
- paragraph headings – as you scan down the page, you’re checking, ‘yes, interesting, interesting, interesting, interesting’ and when you stop, you hit Back.
- bold and italics – these highlight important points. But if there are too many, you filter them out.
- links – as you’re reading the page – at the same time – you’re thinking, Where do I go next? Links solve this problem. They should recommend us to visit other related pages. Then we scan that page. And on it goes…
With this in mind, we’ve prepared some guidelines when writing for the web:
- Reduce the word count as much as possible without losing the article’s meaning. Short pages tend to be read more than long unwieldy tomes. Readers have an aversion to the Page Down button on their keyboard; most will not work their way down a page. They prefer short, snappy pages.
- Keep one idea per paragraph. This makes it easy to read and navigate. In the reader’s mind they’ll think, “this paragraph is about this, while this other paragraph is about that”, and enjoy scanning the article. If you bury multiple ideas inside a paragraph, they’ll resent it and go elsewhere.
- Use bullet lists, bold the important text and put in sub-headings to highlight the main points.
- Use an “inverted pyramid” style so that the main points are the top of the page and the rest of the story sits underneath it. Classic journalism writing style!
- Use White Space to present the text more clearly. White space conveys space, openness and confidence. In contrast, pages that are cramped with small fonts and dense blocks of text appear tight-fisted and miserly — as if the designer wouldn’t share his space with the reader.
- Be interesting. Most visitors will read only one or two pages of your site—after that they gone. So, it’s critical that you catch their attention immediately and offer clean uncluttered text that will enjoy reading.
And…Most readers are under pressure to find content quickly. Many are ‘watching the clock’ and have little patience with muddled material. So:
- Use short sentence.
- Simple works.
- Headings that drive the user forward (ie not there to please search engines)Just to recap.
- Break content into smaller, more digestible chunks. Use lots of headings, bullet lists and short sentences.
- Think mobile. Imagine reading this article on a smart phone. Easy to read? Now look at other sites. Notice the difference?
By preparing content that can be skimmed over, readers will appreciate your content and are more likely to return.