4 Advantageous Ways To Structure Your Webpage Content
You’ve heard that content is king, but what if your visitors don’t read your content? How will they know you’ve got a great product or service? The art of getting people to read your wonderful content, in emails and on the web, is done with formatting.
Here are 4 ways to format your webpage content to get people to read it:
- Supplement your content with relevant, intentional images
In today’s template world, stock images are being overused, rarely adding value to anyone’s webpage. If you’re going to use images – and you should – they should be specifically designed to support your content. However, this isn’t as easy as it seems. Often, people use images that correspond with their content, but that doesn’t mean those images support the intent of the page.
Jakob Nielsen, a well-regarded usability researcher, conducted an eye-tracking study to find out how photos impact the visitor’s experience. His study concluded that participants “ignored images when they served no purpose other than to fill the page with a visual.”
The article from Webpage FX describing Nielsen’s study provides a screen shot proving this point. On a webpage dedicated to applying to Yale’s School of Management, a large photo sits on the right side of the page featuring college students sitting down in chairs. Eye-tracking software showed this photo to be completely ignored. The image corresponds to the content but doesn’t help the visitor with their application process, so it gets ignored.
- Use images to direct attention
The other important fact pointed out by Webpage FX is that images of people can be used to direct visitor attention based on where the people in the photo are looking or pointing.
In one example, two versions of a webpage were created. Both versions had an image of a baby on the left, and text on the right. The only difference was where the baby was looking.
On the first webpage, the baby was looking straight ahead at the camera (the visitor). The eye-tracking heat map showed a moderate amount of attention placed on the text next to the baby.
On the second webpage, the baby was looking directly at the text. The eye-tracking heat map showed an intense amount of attention placed on the text, in alignment with the baby’s line of sight. More people looked at the text when the baby appeared to be looking at the text.
Think of your images as a power-packed supplement to your copy. A picture really is worth a thousand words (or more). The best use of images is to direct attention, demonstrate product use, or otherwise show people what’s possible.
- Use specific and intentional formatting
It’s well known that people don’t read large chunks of content on the internet. Instead, they scan for relevant headings, phrases, and bullet point items. This is supported by a Nielsen Norman study that found 79% of participants always scanned webpages for these elements. These elements differentiate between portions of content and are essential in helping visitors who scan.
One of the best formats for content is a bulleted list.
For instance, if you broke up a four-sentence paragraph into a four-item bulleted list, the list would be read more frequently because the formatting supports quick scanning.
The businesses most supported by bulleted lists are those that aim to generate fast calls and inquiries from visitors. This includes businesses offering free consultations. For example, someone who has just experienced a car accident will be looking for a lawyer in a highly emotional state. A law firm using bulleted lists will be more likely to get a call than one that drones on in large paragraphs.
- Use relevant, not clever headings
Clever headings might get a chuckle out of your staff, but they’re not effective. They’ll also deter visitors from browsing other pages on your site. Visitors are tired of having to wade through fancy descriptions to figure out what the message really means. They want clarity because they’re short on time. If your headings aren’t clear, your visitors are going to bounce.
A clear, relevant header is a phrase that speaks directly to the visitor. It’s not just a description of the content they’re about to read. Treat your headings like you would the title of your article. Consider each heading a title of its own that exists to introduce the next block of content as if the reader just began to read.