The inverted pyramid
High contrast text
1. Making your website reader-friendly
2. Choosing your words for your readership
3. Learn when images and graphics are necessary
4. How to create stand out content
5. Tips on providing value
The value of your website is what you offer your audience. It’s more than what you sell, it’s how you sell it. Having a high content density includes the words you use but also the story you’re telling. You don’t want too little and you don’t want too much. Every thing on your page needs to have a clear point and a real purpose.
Questions to think about:
Why should people be coming back to your website? Do you offer valuable knowledge or insight in the form of a blog? Do you answers all their questions about a particular subject matter? Do your products or services solve a problem for them?
The copy is the actual text and content portions of your website. Within copy, we remember other elements like color, value, and direction, but we are also concerned with the language, fonts, the formatting, and the organization of your words. Some of this does take into account marketing language, but we’ll talk about marketing in detail another day.
Questions to think about:
What are your favorite fonts? Are they web-friendly (or reader-friendly?) Who is your target audience? What age range does your audience belong?
Today, we’ll be discussing reader-friendly language and content and providing value to your readers.
So, think of it this way: the copy is the meat of your website — the text, images, graphics.
Another Nielson Normal Group study looked at the top ten mistakes in web design and we’ll address three of those with the copy discussion:
- Non-Scannable Text
- Font Size
- Text colors
Another one of them (#10) is discussed in BYB102, and one (#6) we will discuss when we talk about marketing.
Understanding your target audience (both by knowing your niche and doing some market research) will give you insight on the proper font size for your readers.
In general, though, a larger font size is best because it is simply more reader-friendly.
Another component is having a responsive web design: this means that the font size will increase or decrease as necessary based on what program or device the readers is using. For instance, a reader visiting your website on Internet Explorer on their desktop computer would need a larger font size than using Safari on their iPhone 6.
You would think this goes without saying, but the key to being highly reader-friendly with your website is by having high contrast text colors in relation to their background: eg, black text on a white background or white text on a black background.
Using low contrast colors (or too many colors) is difficult to read and is a turn off to visitors.
Keep it simple, including choosing a non-distracting background image or texture if you aren’t using a solid background color.
A last key note: if you are keeping it simple, do make sure you have a distinct link color and a distinct visited link color.
Readers don’t want to be reading a boring book. They want answers to their questions (usually in an attractive or interesting way) and that is it. You can successfully create copy and page elements that are reader-friendly by using the following tricks:
- headings, subheadings
- bulleted lists
- highlight keywords
- short paragraphs
- adding relevant links
- a simple writing style
- break down large concepts
- avoid marketing jargon
- being clear and concise
- white space in the form of line breaks
- attractive images and graphics
- the inverted pyramid
If you’re hoping we’ll now talk about creating great content, well your partially correct…
adding some graphics
Occasional images and graphics can be incredibly helpful for website visitors. The key word is occasional. An overabundance of imagery can be overstimulating and can distract the readers from getting to the heart of the message.
HERE ARE TIMES WHEN IMAGES AND GRAPHICS ARE NECESSARY:
navigation or directional graphics: those that help visitors navigate to where they want to go or guide/direct them to where you want them to go
increasing content value (namely for articles and blog posts)
- to create a break in a large block of text
Choosing your words
Like we said above in non-scannable text: you want to have a simple writing style, break down large concepts (and not use specialized words unless you are speaking to a specialized audience), avoid marketing jargon, and be clear and concise. Essentially, get to the point at an eighth grade reading level. No, your readers aren’t stupid, but they are busy.