Writing for a website requires a different style than you may be used to when writing for “print” materials. Website visitors have notoriously short attention spans so you must provide information to them in an easy to read “scannable” format.
Additionally, each page of a website needs to be able to stand on it’s own as site visitors do not always enter the website from the home page nor does they view the pages in a specific order.
The following format is a good way to increase the reader’s scannability of a page and with a little keyword research it can be a good start to optimizing for search engines too.
Heading (include keyword phrases for SEO)
Introduction also known as the “deck” (1-2 sentences defining what you’re going to talk about using keyword phrases for SEO). Your introduction should simply define one concept which you will futher define using a bulleted list. Any sub-concepts should be in a similiar format so people can easily drill down to the info they seek.
- Bullets supporting concept defined in heading and “deck”
- (list of elements supporting the introduction – again using keyword phrases)
Repeat format with next concept or sub-concept.
This method makes it easy for users to scan a page quickly and know if they have an interest. Certainly you can deviate from this concept when the content warrants. For example, you may want to add more narrative and you might not always be able to use bullets (however in most cases you can). But in general using the heading, deck, bullets format is a good way to get your material across to an online audience.
Remember as you prepare your website content that usability and searchability are not exclusive from each other. A well-written website that provides information to your site visitors in a clear, easy-to-scan format is likely to be easily indexed by search engines too.
More about SEO (it’s not a magic bullet) coming soon…