Continuing our series: Free Online Gifts Every Communicator Can Give, one simple gift every web admin and blogger can give to their audience is web pages and blog posts that are formatted for easy online reading.
Format Pages for the Web
People read web pages and blog posts differently than they read books and magazines. We generally do not sit back in a comfortable chair and read web pages for 15 minutes to an hour at a time for the pure enjoyment of it.
We seek out web pages for a specific purpose, usually to answer a specific question. We don’t want to read for 5 minutes only to find out the page didn’t address answer our question or provide the insight we were looking for. So we tend to skim. So, we need to write our web pages and articles for people who are skimming.
- Have a clear title that indicates the content of the page. For example, not just “Latest News” but a few words to indicate what the latest news is.
- Like a newspaper article, give an overview of what the page/article is about in the first paragraph.
- Keep the page short. There are exceptions to this, but a good rule of thumb is if a page is more than 3 screens long you probably need to edit part of it out or split it into multiple pages.
- Keep your paragraphs short. Do not follow the “rules” your 5th grade English teacher taught you about an intro sentence, 3 supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence. (Sorry teachers 🙂
- Frequently, use headings, bullet points and numbered points.
- Link to supporting documents. Instead of going off on tangents or spending a couple of sentences explaining something you’ve written elsewhere, just link to it.
- Use images. Pictures, charts, graphics and info graphics can convey a lot of info quickly.
Give your readers this gift and they will thank you. 🙂
Any other suggestions for how to format pages and blog posts in ways that will help your readers digest them?