If you feel the good work you do on your website is going to waste, take a look at these simple tips for improving the user experience of your content.
Learn How to Write for the Web
There is a huge difference in how people read web content compared to how they read print. When you’re writing for the web you need to think about the unique habits of the browser, and what they’re really looking for from your piece.
Web content needs to be easy to digest. The anatomy of a great web page features a lot of white space to accentuate the content and make it more eye-catching. Bold fonts and clear headings to break up the text help users quickly understand what the copy is about.
Your average visitor isn’t going to read every single word you’ve written, they’re much more likely to skim through the piece looking for the most relevant information to them. The skill of a web content writer is much more about how accessible they make information than how they weave a sentence together.
It’s vital you consider the readability of your content on other devices. Many users will be reading on a mobile or tablet, and if your web pages aren’t optimized to present the content properly on these platforms it will be unreadable.
Sleek, streamlined and simple is the dominant trend in modern website design. Applying this principle to your content is great for improving readability, but it needs to be consistent with the rest of the website and where you’re sending new visitors.
If your website design differs from page to page or is wildly at odds with the content page they’ve landed on, it will make for a jarring experience. Users want to feel they understand something, so introducing an entirely new design element will make them feel like they’ve lost control.
Even if the style of content differs, such as going from text to video, the makeup of the page should be the same. Try not to use an external blog provider for your content, as their unique design will clash with your website and make users think they’ve been sent somewhere else. Many of the best CMS out there will include a blog function as standard.
Consistency in design shouldn’t just apply to your blog and the pages linking directly to and from it. It should be something that exists throughout your website and branding, from social media to email newsletters. If you run multiple websites, all your emails should include logos linking to your other sites in the footer. When a customer purchases from your website, they should receive an email invoice that’s in line with the content they’ve been taking in, so as to create a natural continuation.
In the early day of your website, using generic templates is a great way to establish a consistent brand early. If you’re worried about your email or invoice design skills, you can simply use an invoice template that can be completed with your brand colors and logo. While not strictly part of your content, it helps to establish a familiar chain from content to purchase.
Provide Links Throughout
Users land on your content for a specific reason and expect it to provide them with an answer. Once they have that answer, how you laid out links within the content will dictate whether they stay on your website or not.
Internally linking to other sections of your website from your content is key to creating a great extended user experience. This method can be used to back up points you make within your content, in the way a news outfit will link to a source and introduce them to new content they might also enjoy.
If you’re writing about your products, such as with a top ten gifts list, you should be providing links to buy them. Don’t assume the user is going to search through your website for these products, because it might not be inherently obvious to them how to.
You need to assume a user has never been on your website before and need you to hold their hand throughout this experience. It’s vital to put any information you want them to see right in front of their face.
Improve Website Speed
Poor speed is one of the biggest detriments to user experience. If your pages take too long to load you’ll experience a huge drop off in visitor retention. If a user does decide to stick around, they’ll be treated to a thoroughly unpleasant experience and forever have a mark against your website.
A webpage that loads slowly doesn’t just make content unreadable, it limits what you can do with it. If you’re suffering from loading time issues you won’t be able to include images, videos or gifs within your content, putting you at a disadvantage when compared to competitors. These formats have changed the way we enjoy content and are expected by the modern reader. If they can even find your content in the first place, they’ll struggle to find a reason to keep on suffering through.
Make improving your website speed a number one priority for a number of reasons. If you fix this issue, you’ll see a dramatic increase across all performance metrics and create a user experience worth remembering.
Be Campaign Relevant
Part of creating a great user experience is about understanding how the journey started.
If your content is acting as a landing page of a campaign, then good user experience involves matching the expectations of that campaign. Is the visitor getting the information they were promised by the post accompanying the link they clicked on?
Does the language and style of your content match that of the social media post or paid ad linking to it? If it doesn’t it can make the content less interesting to the reader or viewer. Your branding should be consistent across all channels, so as to control the perception of your business and make it as clear as possible to your audience who you are and what you do. You’ve promised the user one experience, now deliver on it.
These are just a few ways you can go about improving user experience within your content pages. As proud as you may be of the content you’re producing, it’s often not enough to let it stand on its own merits. These tips will make your website more accessible and enjoyable for the users finding it.