Break Up with That Wall of Words & Use these 8 Tips to Optimize Content
A site visitor comes to your website, and all they see are pages filled with long paragraphs of text. It doesn’t exactly entice them to continue reading. Fortunately, there are so many ways to add to or optimize your content. We’re “sharing the secret” with these helpful tips that are easy to do but effective. They add some creativity to your content and help to draw in your reader.
The first—and probably most obvious—is using headings. Headings provide a way for readers to scan through the page sections quickly. These are important for guiding the reader through the page and in breaking up the text. Headings are also crucial for screen readers. In a Screen Reader User Survey by WebAIM, 68.8% of respondents say they will first navigate a page using headings.
The title heading and subheadings should be descriptive and explain what will follow in the paragraphs below it without being overly wordy. Always follow the correct hierarchy, heading two before heading three, and so on for the proper flow.
If your content contains lists of multiple items, break them out into a bulleted list. If there is a particular order of importance or occurrence, consider using alpha or numerical lists. These kinds of lists make for easier scanning rather than keeping it all in one sentence or paragraph. They also help emphasize essential information. Don’t forget to capitalize the first word in each bullet point and avoid using full sentences. Keep the information clear and brief.
Images can add visual interest to your content and grab the reader’s attention. They can help tell the story and evoke an emotional response as well. Just make sure to use them wisely and be sure they are relevant to what your page is about. Always remember to add alt text to your images for accessibility.
Accordions aren’t just for displaying FAQs. They keep the content hidden until the reader clicks on them, which is useful for displaying lists. Visitors can open the items they are interested in or need without having to scroll past a ton of other content.
You can also use accordions when your content has lots of steps for a task. Each step is an accordion, and the reader goes progressively through them in order, which allows them to focus on one at a time. If there are many steps, this will help keep the page from getting too long. It also avoids overwhelming the reader with too much information all at once.
Tabs group similar categories while still allowing users to pick what information they would like to see or learn more about. They can flip quickly and easily between the groups without leaving the page. But only use this for information where users don’t need to see all the options simultaneously.
Buttons are a great way to bring attention to a link or PDF on your site. A regular text hyperlink can get lost in a sea of text on the page, but buttons often stand out. They can also add some color to your page. Be mindful of using buttons sparingly; too many on one page can become overwhelming and defeat their purpose of catching the eye.
Do you have more than one PDF or link of a related topic or category? Use graphic tiles. They are another way of having links or documents stand out on the page but work better in groupings than buttons. They grab attention with their size, while the icon also introduces a graphic element to the page. They’re flexible: use one tile and fill up the entire space, several smaller tiles in one row, or even two rows with varying sizes.
If you’re displaying information to compare between different items, you can use a table. Tables allow a reader to scan through to compare and contrast information easily. They are also great for displaying numerical data in a simple format. Make sure to always use a header for the first row with descriptive titles.
These different options will help your pages engage your site visitors and draw them in. Using these tips effectively will keep you locked-on to making great content.