I remember assembling my first website – around the age of 14 – and how long it took me to make the design perfect. I've all planned carefully in my head, working on all the pages I thought a site should have (Main, About Me, Photos and Links!). I even drew a paper sitemap, to make sure everything was perfect! Then I thoroughly tried .html (it was in the days before the WYSIWYG editors were around), and removed each .jpg from scratch. It took me several weeks, but the site was finally completed. All I needed to do was write the content to fill it. It was not until then that I realized that I did not have one thing to say.
I designed my second website when I was in high school, and it was a much more ambitious affair. I made a page for each of my friends and I filled it with things I knew they would make them laugh. The homepage was a little more than a list of links, because I wanted people to easily find their pages. The design came naturally from the content, and unlike my first site, it was a huge success. Because I wrote it thinking about my audience, rather than trying to adapt the content to the design, it was more accessible, and people took the time to read it. As a result, the site has become very popular, and people are still talking about it now, even though the site has been offline for years.
My two sites were very basic, amateur efforts, but the principle also applies, regardless of the size of the site. Design is important, but the content is king. The web is a means of communication – if you publish something online, you obviously have something you want to say, and you can not allow your words to be overshadowed by your new flashy website. You must learn to design for your content.
Design to Communicate
The most important part of your site is the content itself. You have something to say, and you have to make sure to say it, or all your efforts have been wasted. But there is no point in simply regurgitating a few paragraphs of hype marketing – internet users are surprisingly savvy, and they can see through this in an instant; a moment in which they have pressed the back button and will move down the list of search results.
You have to find what people are looking for and give it to them.
Do some research; Think about the terms you would use to search if you wanted to buy your product, then search for them. Take a look at who your competitors are, and what they do. Do some research on Wordtracker and see if there are any other keywords that you could try.
So use your imagination. Think about why people are looking for your product and writing for them. If your site is promoting a ski hotel in Switzerland, do not just advertise for hotels in Switzerland, provide useful articles about skiing, then direct them to your hotel in the middle of A ski resort.
When you know the content you need, you have to write it. The key to all this is that it must be well written – you want people to read it and find the information useful. There is a lot of nonsense out there, and if people find a really useful article, they will remember it and come back for more. With this in mind, here are some ideas for writing better content:
- Write clearly. Write succinctly. People are extinguished by huge blocks of text, so keep it as short and soft as possible.
- Do not feel obliged to explain every little thing, but do not assume that your readers know everything you do. If they did, they would not read your article.
- Use references to reinforce your arguments and link to sources where people can get more information. Do not be afraid to connect to other sites than yours. It will only make people more confident.
- Speak like yourself. It's the web; you can and should be informal. People like to feel that they are listening to a real human being. However, this does not mean that you should not use the correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- Do not use familiar expressions too much – not everybody comes from the same country as you, and it's easy to get lost in translation.
For more information, check out our article on optimizing your website for the web [http://www.herdsofwords.co.uk/articles/optimise.html].
Design for ease of use
People do not like to read as much text on a screen as on a page. Therefore, you must make things easy for them. Design your website to complement and enhance the text, and be sure not to overwhelm it with whimsical menus and images that distract your readers from the important things: your content.
Divide the text into easily digestible pieces; use short paragraphs with short sentences. Give each subject their own separate page if it makes reading easier. Five concise pages are better than a single sprawling mass of text.
Use bullets and lists to simplify things. Focus on the important things using the header tags or bold to make them stand out. Basically, try to split things as much as possible into smaller sections that people will be more inclined to read.
Design for Accessibility
Anyone who uses the Web can not see perfectly. Some are visually impaired; others may even be blind. Still, they are still quite capable of using the Internet, provided that web designers follow some basic rules to make things easier for them.
- Fonts must be resizable – it's tempting to restrict fonts to a specific size to preserve your design, but it's important that you allow users to choose themselves. There are a large number of articles on the web regarding creating layouts that dynamically respond to changes in text size. A List Apart has an interesting article on the complete creation of separate provisions for low vision users .
- Many visually impaired people use screen readers to browse the web. One of the ways to improve the experience of your site is to make sure that you are using the correct .html, thus improving the accuracy of the screen reader.
- Do not use the images as a source of information, but to reinvigorate the information given in the text. Ideally, your site should work as well with images off. Try to visualize your site with a text browser, such as Lynx, to get an idea of how it will be seen by a screen reader.
- Make sure you use the alt tags of your image. Give a concise description of the content of the image. If you include a lot of meta-keywords on your site, you'll also help your SEO.
You must make sure that everyone can access your content and see it, and that it looks the same on everyone's computer. It means testing. Get as many people as you can to test your site in different browsers, different resolutions and different platforms. Make sure it works the same way in everyone.
As for my first site, if you put the emphasis on design, your users will get bored and go on, and your site will return to the site. # 39; anonymity. By following the suggestions in this article, your website will be rejuvenated, and your content will have a chance to shine. People will read what you have to say. If they like what they hear, they will come back again and again …