Chances are you have a website…to showcase your services, experience, market knowledge…ultimately to generate leads. But how inviting is it to consumers on the fly?

There’s no doubt the user experience online is evolving. Wireless Internet and mobile devices are influencing how we scan websites. We want quick hits of information and we may be reading it on just a three-inch touch screen phone.

If you haven’t reviewed your own site’s content in recent years, now’s the time. Here are some tips I learned from a workshop I attended about writing scannable text for the web.

Usability, Accessibility and Accuracy:

  • Write short — short sentences (14 words or less), short paragraphs (1-2 sentences)
  • Write in chunks so there is less scrolling
  • Use subheads, not transitional words (like “click here”)
  • Use hyperlinks to provide more information (5-7 links per group)
  • Use subheads, chunks and hyperlinks to direct users to more details or longer pieces
  • Contrast your home page design versus other pages so users will know when they are on your homepage
  • Write to and about your reader using action verbs and “you”
  • Organize text using bullet and number lists, spacing, heading styles, and columns
  • Revise, edit and proofead your content
  • Write alt text for images (alternative text descriptions that tell what your image is)
  • Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

  • Have other sites (blogs) link to your site
  • Use keywords, good page titles and links
  • Make important text bold
  • Add something new on your homepage once a month
  • Use RSS technology to keep your webpage fresh and increase relevance to search terms