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Text that won’t Make the Cut

Ever have that moment where your eyes goes fuzzy while you’re skimming a web page. So much small text! We’re all suffering from Information Overload (neatly described by Monika Mundell) anyway, so its not surprise that lengthy web content can make your eyes roll back into your head.

We all want our websites to be user-friendly so here are some tips on how to tell what content on your site or blog important. We’ll identify two types of information.

Must-Haves

  • Answer the “What?” question. Either in your landing or about page, give people the quick and dirty of what your site is about.
  • Reader’s requests. Ask your readers, via email, twitter or even a blog posts what they want to read.
  • Relevance. You know the goal of your site, put information relevant to it up. this includes news, trends, f.d.q.s (Frequently Debated Questions) and your own thoughts.

Superfluous

  • Anything written for your ego.
  • Long-winded content when something short but juicy will do.
  • Out-dated content

With all writing on your website, both blog and site  content take time to identify what things are “must haves” and what things would you “like to have”. The important things have to take priority. There are lots of things you’d like to write, or see on your site, but if its not something your readers say they “must” have, it will have to take a backseat or even be cut.

Keep it short. This goes for web content especially. What you can’t fix on your site, take it to your blog. Short, frequent posts are much more effective than one long-winded post a month. This goes back to the point at the top, “must” vs. “like to”. Trim the fat off your site, just post what your readers really need to know.

We’ve talked about using your audience to gauge the effectiveness of your content, what other ways do you use to decide what to keep or cut?

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4 Responses to “Text that won’t Make the Cut”

  1. » Need to Know Basis Says:

    [...] With all writing on your website, both blog and site content take time to identify what things are “must haves” and what things would you “like to have”. The important things have to take priority More [...]

  2. Carolann Jacobs Says:

    You are so right. Do you know if there’s ever been a survey that’s estimated lost business due to poor copy?

  3. Kat Says:

    Carolann,

    I don’t know of one offhand but that’s a really interesting idea. I will make sure to check for one and if I find a link I will post it.

  4. Kat Says:

    Carolann, Found a couple of really interesting links.

    1. http://www.amazon.com/Effective-Writing-Improving-scientific-communication/dp/0419146601/ref=sr_11_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1226012593&sr=11-1

    This a really detailed book about Effective Writing. I may have to go buy it, it looks that cool.

    2. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119984593/abstract

    On the other hand, here is a paper about “bad writing in economics” and its got some interesting things to say in the abstract. Might be worth tracking down the paper.