Don’t be content with old content.
Even though there is still snow on the ground here in DC, we’re looking ahead to spring, the season of renewal.
Content is king, this we know. Readers want concise information, and you don’t have much time to make an impression. With every website redesign project, we always suggest an audit to classify content as accurate, needing an update, or no longer relevant. However, a website is never “done”, and taking fresh eyes to your site, even well after launch, can help make it even more impactful.
A couple tips to get you started
You don’t need to rewrite everything. Focus on making your content easy to scan by applying the following techniques:
Titles and teasers should feed different information to readers
Readers will likely skip long paragraphs of text. Keep this in mind when drafting titles and teasers. Neither of these need to convey the whole message. I once heard this described as a bite (the title), snack (the teaser), and meal (the full article). The NIH Research Matters does a great job of this. Each element serves a specific purpose, and words were carefully chosen. If a government entity can curate scientific content this well, so can you!
Use headings to descriptively outline the page
Headings – specifically H2 and H3 – are often used to outline the page’s structure. This is, of course, important for SEO and accessibility purposes. Take this one step further and treat them as content as well by intentionally drafting them to provide easy-to-scan content and context clues to your readers.
For example, for a page about your membership structure and benefits, choose “Our association offers five membership types” instead of simply “Membership Types”. Similarly, instead of a “Member Benefits” heading, try more interesting language such as “Membership includes a variety of benefits”. Consider using unordered lists wherever possible and appropriate; these are easier to scan than paragraphs of text.
A side note on headings: if you find yourself using the headers out of numerical order (using an H3 where an H2 is structurally more appropriate) based on the way they look, consider having your site styles changed to better fit your needs.
Remember: make your content easy and quick to digest
You’ve only got a few seconds of your readers’ attention. Get the most of their scanning by:
- Carefully crafting titles and teasers
- Using headings as descriptions