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Writing Web Content That Gets And Retains Attention

It takes only a split-second for a website visitor to decide if he or she wants to continue on with your page or click elsewhere. Internet readers are an unpredictable and finicky lot. How your website looks may be the reason why a visitor comes in the first place, but if your page does not page enough meat it’s not likely he or she will stay.

Your website’s design is driven by its colors, font styles and overall layout. But that’s just scratching the surface. It is the site’s actual content, in terms of words and relevant images that will have a lasting effect on your reader. Poor copy can make or break your site. This is why it’s not enough to focus your energy into the aesthetics alone. You will need the type of writing that hooks readers and keeps them coming back for more.

Simple Rules

Grammar and spelling are very important to establishing your website’s credibility. By producing clean and flawless copy, you gain ground as a site that’s worth somebody’s time online. Taking into consideration your reader’s ultra-short attention span, you writing also has to be concise and direct to the point. Nobody wants to read meandering text.

Give your readers lots of white space. It can be off-putting for an online reader to see huge chunks of text in a page. Break paragraphs after every two to five sentences to let eyes rest. Use sub-headings and bold fonts to help them transition from one idea to another. These dividers also help readers quickly scan your page for relevance before actually diving in and reading the entire thing.

How To Write Web Copy That Matters

Writing that gets attention does not happen by accident. To produce consistent quality results, you will need structure.

  1. Decide where you want your article to go.

This is your overall plan. Before writing anything, first identify what your goal is and how to you intend to get there. Is your article answering a specific question? It is addressing a problem? Is it sharing important information?

Write down all your ideas first and choose the key points that you will be focusing on. If you’re working with a team, this is the phase where you brainstorm. Decide what main ideas it will dicuss, who the primary audience will be and the general flow. This is also the part where you make a decision on how you want your website to look, so you can also map out an appropriate length and writing style that meets the design criteria.

  1. Make an outline.

An outline can be in bullet form or structured in a way that presents the introduction, main body and conclusion. Often, writers forego writing an outline and think they can just wing it as they go. This is where many go wrong. Having a solid guide from the start will ensure that you stay on point and don’t go off topic.

  1. Write your draft.

This part will be the first time you will be stringing words together to bring your ideas to life. If you have previously made a working outline, then this part should come easy. If you are working with a team, it will be smart to just assign one person to take care of bringing all content in one place. In addition to the usual formatting tasks, he or she can also lend fresh eyes to the piece and make sure that nothing from the outline is missed.

  1. Revision is key.

Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect. Part of writing quality content is acknowledging that your work will undergo two or more revisions. Even award-winning writers are not spared from having to revise their work several times before the final product is published.

These include proofreading for spelling and formatting errors and copyediting for grammar and flow problems. One trick that many professional writers recommend is reading the text out loud to yourself. This method often lets you spot the errors or off-sounding phrases from your article because you can “hear” how things flow. Another is to set it aside, give yourself a break and just come back to it later with a fresh pair of eyes. Better yet, get an editor.

Of course, you cannot discount sheer talent and a flair for words as a major element to writing killer web copy. Still, it really does not take a genius to build content that gets attention. This is where a clear and systematic strategy comes in.

 

How To Subconsciously Turn Your Audience Around With Your Website’s Design

Getting your audience to want to continue browsing your website is a huge challenge for the designer and the developer. How your pages look and the overall experience of navigating through the pages is a big deal. This is because online readers behave differently from the traditional reader. Literally, it takes only a split-second for someone on the Internet to decide if your website is worth his or her time. Otherwise, that mouse will hover towards X.

The moment people arrive at your website, their subconscious instantly evaluates the environment and sends the signal to leave or stay. While factors like content, layout and usability matter, it is the element of intrigue that will reel them in and want to learn more. People’s online decisions are driven by everything from the actual content of the site to its visual aesthetics. Your goal is to make your audience feel welcome and invited the second they encounter your page, so that they will want to continue with the experience.

Create website designs that make an impact.

When it comes to your site’s visual appeal, the objective is to make your audience feel intrigued and comfortable at the same time. The colors, the way the photos are positioned and font styles and sizes matter. Because it’s your reader’s first time to navigate your site, you need to make it easy for him or her to move around. Make categories easily visible and keep your pages as clean and concise as possible.

Cluttered pages can spell the death of your site. If there are too many things going around, your audience will feel bombarded with text and photos and that can be very exhausting. Keep things simple and easy to understand. Label categories and directionals as clearly as possible. You can get creative with your labels and headings, but make sure that your reader will still know what it is about at first look.

Words are powerful. 

Your actual content is also a major factor that affects the subconscious. What people read is what will appeal to their emotions and your goal is to build a positive experience. Make your audience feel good about being in your website. Understand why they are coming to your site in the first place and present what you have to offer. Knowing this allows you to meet your audience halfway. Ensure that your audience arrives happy and leaves happy.

You might have a flair for words, but if your audience cannot understand what you are talking about, then you have failed. Use an informal tone and employ simple words that anybody can easily relate to. Write content that makes them feel like they are talking to a friend, instead of just a page on a machine.

Keep things simple.

Even seemingly minor design issues like alignment and white space matter to your audience’s subsconscious decision to continue reading your website. If all elements are properly aligned, your reader will have a positive experience clicking through the pages. Make things easy to find and easy on the eyes. Keep introductions short, subheadings concise and text readable.

Of course, ensure that your site’s performance also follows through on the goal of giving a positive experience. Pages have to work on not lead to dead ends. They also have to load properly and quickly. Remember, people experience your website in different manners. Some do it via a desktop, some via a laptop and others through a smartphone. Take all these platforms into consideration when designing your website.

The subsconscious is a powerful and quiet decision maker. And you need it’s attention and interest for your website to get the clicks and returns it needs. Website design is a technical process, but it’s not really rocket science. The basic issue really is to understand what your audience’s needs. When you have made a connection with your reader, even subsconsciously, it becomes more likely for him or her to be involved and engaged.

 

How Designers Can Reach Out To Developers (So That Everyone’s Happy)

So you’ve got a really wild website design idea that you think would look awesome online. You draft your desired look and where you want things to go on Sketch or Photoshop and present it excitedly to the person who will be responsible for making it happen. However, the moment he or she sees it, you are told it’s not doable. Then the arguments begin.

How do a designer and developer meet halfway? As a designer at WebDesign499, you have to understand that the success of a website is a two-pronged deal. It’s not just about you. No matter how magnificent your design might be, if you don’t work hand-in-hand with its developer, you might not even see a decent looking output at all.

Designers and developers should be closely involved in the project from the very start. The former will be responsible for the likes of imagery, color, typeface, while the latter will give advice on function, maneuverability and overall performance. These all sound technical but, really, the true trick to working harmoniously is attitude.

Involve Each Other From Ground Zero

Developers and designers often work in a bubble. Most don’t even get to meet each other until the first draft is about to be presented. That’s where the conflict begins. The way to work around potential misunderstandings is to get involved from the very beginning. Discuss how you both want to see the project through, share your ideas and agree on what works (and what doesn’t). Both parties should understand what the other does so they can set realistic goals and expectations.

Label Your Files Properly

Designers often just dump a horde of unnamed files in a folder and expect the developer to figure it all out. That’s not the way to go and will only result in an upset client because of the delays. When you turn over your files to the developer, make sure everything is properly labeled. Organize your files properly, name folders accordingly and group similar elements in one place. This way, your developer will not get lost anywhere and there will be fewer calls bearing “I can’t find X anywhere.”

Consider The Environment

Mobile apps have different designs from websites and, as the designer, you should be well aware of the likes of margins, padding, screen size, canvas size and more. This way, you can come up with a draft that the developer will be able to use for the beta version.

Before you start designing, discuss with the developer first what you intend to do. No matter how stellar your work will look on Photoshop, it won’t be any use if actual production falls short of expectations just because you failed to communicate. Ask questions.

Be Friendly

Make the effort to reach out and be friends with your developer. This is the best way to ensure that your project goes smoothly and all expectations are met. Communication will also ensure that deadlines are met and the client is happy with the end result. You don’t have to be best buddies. You only need to foster a positive working relationship that enables each other to speak up and make recommendations. In the end, both of your happy, the project is executed with minor (or without) hitches and your client is pleased.