Wix, Weebly, Square Space... These days, building a website is easy. What nobody talks about is how hard it is to write one!
Cool effects will not keep visitors on your site, top-notch content will. But ... it has to be crafted specifically for the web.
Steve Krug, (the guy who was doing this work before it was called "user-experience" or "UX" for short) argues that if site visitors can't answer the following four questions immediately on your homepage, they'll fly away as quickly as they landed:
Here’s how I’ll help you keep your site visitors:
"Mike is an excellent storyteller who's flexible, easy to work with, and a great communicator. He listened closely to my feedback and worked hard to meet my needs. He also added value by sending relevant .pdfs and websites that will definitely help me in future projects.
Working with Mike was hassle-free and very productive."
~ Prinsess Futrell, Executive Director, Home & Hope
Bonus content — the web is weird!
Even though we use it every day, there are a lot myths and misunderstandings about how reading and writing work on the web--it’s an officially weird place.
So, (drumroll please), prepared just for you, here’s my favorite list of myths about reading and writing on the web.
Myth #1: People don’t read on the web—horse manure!
Please. People read so much on the web we even have an expression for it: gone down any “rabbit holes” lately?
Books: When people read books, they’re often reading for relaxation or to learn in depth.
Online: When people use the web, their reading is task-driven—they want something, now. It’s reading, but a different type of reading.
Conclusion: Think of your own experience. When you’re searching the web you sniff around, skim, scan, and click, but when you find what you’re looking for, that’s when you stop sniffing and read.
Myth #2: Web writing is all about SEO—balderdash!
People have strong feelings about both sides of this issue. Some people think writing should be for people, others think that SEO is the bread & butter.
The truth is somewhere in between.
In a nutshell: As SEO sage Brian Dean (at backlinko) argues, SEO might get people to visit your site, but it’s your job to keep them there. If visitors find no value in your content, they’ll click away, and fast. So, like most things in life, it’s a balance.
Myth #3: There’s no difference between web writing and writing for print—a load a hooey!
Good writers know what their readers want. If you’re Agatha Christie, you know your readers want to solve mysteries, have fun, and work out puzzles.
But on the web, it’s the exact opposite. In fact, “Don’t make me think!” is the cardinal rule for web writing and design established by Steve Krug. Here are a few examples of how to apply this rule:
Conclusion: The differences between web and print content are enormous. But it all boils down to the fact that people use the web to get things done. Our job is to help them do that in the easiest way possible.