Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Five simple formatting tips to make your website text easy to read, user-friendly and ready to convert.
Can bullet points help convert visitors into customers? Can writing less mean you sell more? Is shorter really sweeter?
Yes, yes and yes.
Writing for the web is a specific skill. And sometimes it seems to go against what you'd expect.
But master it and your website will become a lean, clean, sales machine.
Psst... people aren't paying attention
The attention span of someone looking at your website is just seconds. They come, they scan. And they leave very quickly if they don't find what they need.
Your aim is to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they need.
If you don't, they'll leave. And so will your chance of turning their interest into action...buying your stuff, booking your services or donating to your cause.
Here are my five top tips to improve your website performance without having to think about anything vaguely technical.
Leave the blocks to lego. Break things up to make your text easier to scan and to make it easier for readers to realise they've found what they need.
Don't bank on people reading through your text to find your key selling points or product features. Make them stand out.
But don't be tempted to just bullet point everything. Bulleted lists are only effective if they are:
to the point
2. Plain English
People's ability to understand and process information goes down when they're reading online.
And down even further when reading on mobile, which accounts for about 50% of web traffic.
So writing in plain English that's easy to understand is incredibly important.
Don't be tempted to use fancy pants big words to impress people. It'll make your website harder to use and send visitors searching somewhere else.
Subheadings are the signposts that guide people through your text.
They jump out of the page and say 'Hello, you're in the right place. This way to what you're looking for'.
If you don't use these signposts, your visitors will quickly get lost and leave your site.
Break up your pages with subheaders that accurately describe the content of the next few paragraphs.
The best subheaders are:
short (aim for five words or fewer)
easy to read (no big words or silly fonts)
have the keywords at the start
So a good example is:
Subheaders and how to use them
A bad example is:
Mastering the magical art of writing a wonderful subheading
Paragraphs are a block of text that contain a complete thought. In print, they can be pretty long. Ten sentences or more.
But online they need to be shorter - just one or two sentences.
It helps readers to take in what you're saying, scan text and spot your key points.
Want to make your key selling points jump off the page? You can.
Using bold text to highlight important information really helps the reader find facts quickly.
But you should use it sparingly.
If your page is full of bold text it is counterproductive.
Bold text draws the eye exactly because it is unusual. Pack your text with it and no-one will know where to look.
But use it to highlight key points and you'll get attention for all the right reasons.
And there you have it. Five top tips to boost your website performance without any technical trickery. Keep your eyes peeled next week for my tips on converting interest into action on your website...
Has this post has inspired you to update your website text? But do you lack the time, energy or inclination? I can help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how I can help.
About the author
Libby is a freelance copywriter and content marketer from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She worked in marketing and communications for 18 years before turning freelance in 2019. She's written for big brands and boutique businesses, crafting customer-friendly marketing content for print and online. Find out more at www.writeontyne.com