When you read a book, you start at chapter one. At least, that’s how I read a book and I’m sure most people do the same.
Suppose someone picks up a book and starts reading somewhere completely at random. They may open to chapter three, or jump in anywhere, perhaps at the beginning of the last chapter, maybe in the middle of chapter seven, or at the last page of chapter one.
It’s a pretty crazy way to read a book but the most common way to look at a website
That’s what the web is like. Most web visitors will not start reading at your home page. They may not even know that you have a home page. No, they will arrive on any of your web pages. Any one of them.
So make sure when visitors arrive that they don’t leave confused (and possibly irritable).
- Each page should be easy to scan;
- Each page should clarify to people where they are
- Each page should clearly say what your site is about;
- Each page should have a call to action telling people where to go next
How can you make sure of those 4 points?
1. Easy to scan
Make sure that each Post you write is easy for the visitor to read. More to the point, easy for visitors to scan quickly. Remember, people don’t read, they scan. If what they scan looks good, they’ll (hopefully) be drawn to actually read.
2. Let them know where they are
Every Post should be clearly marked so that the visitor knows where they are in your site. This is done by the correct use of Categories. If the visitor came to your site to read about an unusual red shoe, the category which is clearly displayed under your post will lead that visitor to the ‘Shoes’ category. If you’ve categorised correctly, there’ll be nothing but shoes in that category.
That visitor may prefer your Tag ‘red shoes’, which is also clearly displayed under the Post, to read about more red shoes. Make sure that your Tag goes somewhere, to more Posts about red shoes and that it isn’t a lone, lost orphan tag guaranteed to really annoy a visitor.
3. Let them know what you’re on about
They should clearly see what your site is about. You don’t have to write the aims and objectives or the welcoming blurb on each Post. Far from it. The Post should be clearly written so that the visitor understands that you manufacture shoes, or that you sell shoes, or collect unusual shoes, or find shoes discarded in our pristine bush and waterways.
4. Where to now?
Where will the visitor go now? If they haven’t been able to follow the category or, worse, found that category contains Posts on not just shoes, but on kookaburras, elephants and old school reunions, you should take another look at your categories.
And finally ..
1. You could leave a gentle suggestion to subscribe to your newsletter or to your feed.
2. You can suggest another Post that they would like to read. Simply add a line to the bottom of your Post with the suggestion of further reading and give the link to another Post.
Here’s an example …
You have to train yourself to write online content and that means breaking away from the grammatically correct habits of a lifetime. Brush up on Writing for the Web