Writing for the Web
Make it about the reader
If your copy is about you (your product, your company) and not the prospect (his problems, his life), you will fail. Make it about them. Too many companies start by stating “our company was founded…”, “we offer …” or something especially useless like “welcome to your website”.
Instead of saying “we specialize in dog training”, say “train your dog in two weeks”—move the focus from you to the benefit they will receive. People care about themselves—not you—and whether your website can be helpful in some way.
--see original article at Smashing Magazine, 5/18/12
The web audience has a far shorter attention span than book or even magazine readers. And they don't want to hear about you, they want to hear what THEY need. Only after you've engaged their attention will they go back and read in more detail. So that important entry page should be USEFUL to the reader and not filled with fluff. Some basic ideas:
- You have about five seconds to convince someone that they're in the right place - keep it simple and tell them immediately what THEY want to know. Suggestion - ask your users why they come to your site. If it's "I need the phone number" or "your hours" - put this front and center and don't make them hunt for it.
- The first place they'll look is top left of the main content area (Nielsen)
- Don't use the overused "Welcome to our site" - try this instead:
- "The best welcome you can give users is a concrete definition of what they can do on the site and a clear starting point from which to begin." Jakob Nielsen Design Guidelines
- Don't start with the director's message - put this important message on the menu, but don't lead with it - wait until people are interested in you before you throw them a long philosophical message.
- Use bullets instead of blocks of text.
- Avoid large meaningless pictures. A small picture can add visual variety as well as a large one. If the picture doesn't teach them anything, and it takes up valuable real-estate at the top of the page, you're wasting bandwidth.
Some reading about how to write for the web: