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Structuring Content to Suit the Web

Filed under: Website Content Writing — Truong Nguyen @ 12:02 pm

~ This was posted on December 30, 2008

Web content writing requires a different approach then content writing for print documents and publications. Web content writing is nowhere close to the offline world. Web users typically don’t read web content word for word but instead they scan the page, picking out certain words and sentences. Scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users according to recent eyetracking studies that had 232 users looked at thousands of Web pages. They found that users’ main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks.

heat map

Heatmaps from user eyetracking studies. The areas where users looked the most are colored red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Gray areas didn’t attract any fixations.

The following implications can be drawn by the study:

  • Users won’t read text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are looking for certain products/services. Some people will read more then others but they will rarely read the entire site content.
  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. The heatmaps showed that users will actually read this material, though they’ll read more of the first paragraph than the second. If the first two paragraphs don’t have what users are looking for, they will leave.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice. Bullets are one of the most favorable online elements; they are suited perfectly for the task of highlighting the most important content on a page. Bullets are easy to read, scanner friendly, and pass important information in short bursts so user don’t feel overwhelmed.

Looking at the study it is clear that web content writing focusing on high view areas will increase usability rate, improve visitor retention, and increase sells. Having the first two paragraphs in getting to the point and passing the benefits in a scanable web content format is the key in getting user to stay and navigate to other parts of your website.

Popularity: 38% [?]

How Color Communicates in Business Website Design

Filed under: Business Website Design — Doug Williams @ 5:00 am

~ This was posted on December 26, 2008

Have you considered the importance of color in your website design? There is a powerful visual emotional effect caused by color. The dominant color you select for your logo, or business web design sends an emotional message to your target audience. First impressions are lasting impressions and color is the sizzle that captures attention.

According to the Institute for Color Research, people quickly make a subconscious judgment about an item and 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. Judgments are based on human instincts and cultural influences and powerfully communicate.

What each color communicates
Black: Elegance, formality, mystery, death and style.
Blue: Stability, professionalism, trust, peace and coolness.
Brown: Endurance, casual, earthy, poverty and tradition.
Gray: Conservatism, seriousness and enhances messages of other colors.
Green: Safety, harmony, freshness, nature and wealth.
Orange: Enthusiasm, cheerfulness, creativity, playfulness and heat.
Pink: Hot pink: energy, youthfulness, fun and excitement… lighter pinks: sentimental, romantic.
Purple: Power, nobility, magic, sensuality and spirituality.
Red: Boldness, excitement, desire, intensity, and love.
Silver: Prestige, cold, scientific.
White: Cleanliness, purity, simplicity, peace and innocence.
Yellow: Attention-grabbing, happiness, energy, joy and optimism.

In general, red, orange, and yellow are exciting colors while purple, blue and green are calming ones. Yellow is the most visible color. Black on yellow or green on white are the most legible combination.

Many fast food restaurants are decorated with vivid reds and oranges. Studies show that these colors encourage diners to eat quickly and leave.

Combining colors in various combination creates even different psychological effect. No color stands alone. Color is seen in the context of a symphony of other colors. No one color is “good” or “bad”. Colors create a composition that as a whole is pleasing or not. Now color is not the only design element to communicate with, but it is a powerful one.

Are you selecting a web design firm? A quick look at their website portfolio will tell you their skill in choosing color the right color combination.

Popularity: 31% [?]

Generate Business with Effective Website Content Writing

Filed under: Website Content Writing — Amanda Lane @ 4:00 pm

~ This was posted on December 19, 2008

You have a business that you are excited about.  A business that you know will make your customer’s lives easier.  However, you can’t seem to convert business through your website.  Determining why your website is ineffective in converting business has been perplexing; your site clearly explains why your business is the best.

Your website content writing may be the problem.  When writing text for your website it may help to think about your customers as spoiled kids with ADD in a toy store.  In order to give the people what they want, keep these tips in mind:

1.  Keep it pithy - Visitors don’t want to wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of words.  They want to know right away what they want to know.  Give them the information they need off the top in a concise sentence.

2.  Shorter is better – Short sentences, short paragraphs, and short words.  Short and sweet wins the web content race.

3.  Enough about you, talk about your customers - Selfishness rules the day when customers are searching for a service.  They don’t care about you, they care about themselves.  Therefore, it makes sense to tailor your writing toward what your customer is looking for and why you can help them.

4.  Objectivity – You may think your service is the greatest out there, but why should someone browsing the web believe you?  Using the previous three tips, explain what your product will do for the customer.

Revising your website content so that it is focused on your customers, is easily digestible for impatient viewers, and touts the benefits of your product or service will transform your website into a valuable business generation tool.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Website Maintenance 101: The Essentials

Filed under: Website Maintenance — Truong Nguyen @ 9:50 am

A website is like a car where it needs to be tuned up and maintained to keep it looking new and in good working order.  Website maintenance will help ensure that the website is running smoothly and as it is suppose to.  Almost all web maintenance jobs deal with going in and changing or adding code.  Web code can be dangerous to change since one error or line of code can drastically alter or break your website.

The following web maintenance check list is essential to any website maintenance work done and to ensure quality work with less maintenance cost later on.

Broken Links: Check all outgoing links to make sure they are still valid.  Manual checking all links is recommended for sites with less than five links but any higher and you can use a free program called Xenu to check for broken links.

Spell Check: Any new text content that is added should be spell checked and made sure that it is added to the correct place on the website.  Copying text to words programs like Microsoft Word can quickly check spelling and grammar errors.

Navigation: Make sure navigation is going to correct pages and additional new pages added to website should have navigation links to correct places on the website.

Valid HTML Code: Checking for code errors after all web maintenance changes is a must.  Errors in HTML code can cause problems like pages looking differently when someone uses different web browsers or cause Google spiders to stop crowing your site.  A free service W3 Validator will help validate your codes to standard.

Browser Test: The three most used web browsers that accounts for about 90% of the market are Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.  It is a good idea to check your work on these browsers to make sure pages are displayed correctly in each browser and nothing is out of place.

Popularity: 26% [?]

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